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Bangladesh and India have signed a ‘border management plan’ to ensure better management of border to stop smuggling and human trafficking.
India has also lauded the initiatives taken by Bangladesh to combat terrorism and militancy.
“I have on record on numerous occasions appreciated the splendid cooperation of Bangladesh to combat terrorism,” said visiting Indian home minister P Chidambaram at a joint press conference.
Indian home minister came to Dhaka Friday night on a 24-hour visit on the invitation of his Bangladsh counterpart Shahara Khatun.
The two ministers discussed border security, boundary dispute, halting smuggling and human and arms trafficking, and security-related issues on Saturday.
Chidambaram said both countries recognise the importance of cooperation in the field of security and are determined to jointly combat the menace of insurgency, militancy and terrorism.
“We are glad that our leadership had agreed that the territory of either would not be allowed for activities inimical to the other,” he said.
He said it is also agreed not to allow their respective territory to be used for training, sanctuary and other operations by domestic or foreign terrorists/militants and insurgent organisations and their operatives.
Chidambaram said the Indian authorities have issued strict instruction not to fire at the border.
“We have issued strict instructions that under no circumstance BSF fires at anybody crossing from India to Bangladesh or Bangladesh to India,” he said.
The message is carried down to BSF jawans and after the issuance of instruction, the number of killings came down to seven, he said adding, “Seven is a bad number, but you should compare the figure with earlier figures.”
When his attention was drawn to killing a Bangladeshi national by throwing stones by BSF, he denied the allegation.
“I flatly deny it. No body was found…neither BSF handed over any body to Bangladesh authorities. I requested my Bangladesh counterpart to investigate to find the truth,” he said.
Home minister Sahara Khatun said Bangladesh always protests when there is a border killing.
About the killing of Bangladeshi by throwing stone, she said, “You heard what the (Indian) minister has said.”
Sahara said at the home minister-level meeting, border killing issue was discussed.
“The Indian side has shown positive attitude in this regard and assured that they will work to stop firing at the border,” she said.
KILLERS OF BANGABANDHU
Indian minister said it was possible that two out of 12 convicted for Bangabandhu’s murder are in India.
“We asked Bangladesh to provide us details and intelligence information, and no resources will be spared to apprehend them and hand them over to Bangladesh,” he said.
Captain Mazed and Risalder Moslehuddin are believed to be hiding in India.
Sahara requested her Indian counterpart to find out whether the two absconding killers are in India.
Chidambaram said issues relating to enclaves, adversely possessed land (APL) and undemarcated border will be resolved during the visit of Indian prime minister Manmohan Singh.
Headcount at the enclaves had been completed last week, and it was found that 51,000 people live in these enclaves.
“APL issue is nearly resolved and only one or two cases need to be taken care of, and 6.5 kilometres of the undemarcated boundary issue will be resolved before the visit of Indian prime minister.”
Bangladesh and India share over 4,000 kilometres of boundary and there are 111 enclaves in Bangladesh and 51 in India along the border.
The Joint Boundary Working Group meeting was held in November last year, and both sides are engaged in a process to seek a comprehensive resolution of outstanding land boundary issue, he said.
“Both sides made substantial forward movement to resolve land boundary issue.”
Sahara said they have had a fruitful discussion on exchanging enclaves and she hoped that they would be able to resolve all the disputes including border problems very soon.
Twenty-four hour unfettered access to Bangladeshis living in Dahagram and Angurpota was also discussed in the meeting, she added.
BORDER MANAGEMENT PLAN
Bangladesh and India have signed a border management plan to enhance border controls and uphold peace and tranquility.
Chidambaram said that he was glad that the border guarding forces concluded ‘Border Management Plan’ and he believed that this would help them enhance together the management of border.
“India has taken several measures to enhance border controls and we are committed to cooperating with Bangladesh in protecting our borders from illegal activities,” he said.
Border Guard of Bangladesh (BGB) and Border Security Force (BSF) signed the border management plan Saturday.
Sahara said the coordinated effort of BGB and BSF would strengthen the border security by stopping smuggling and trafficking of human, drug and arms.
The Indian minister said trade is a great booster of relationship and they are working on several projects to improve trade infrastructure and connectivity.
“India has now undertaken to set up seven integrated check-posts (ICPs) and a foundation stone of the ICP at Agartala was laid in May 2011,” he said.
A new land customs station (LCS) was opened at Fulbari-Banglabandha in January this year and a Border Haat was inaugurated on Meghalaya-Bangladesh border earlier this month, he added.
HIGH LEVEL VISITS
Chidambaram said the relationship between India and Bangladesh is passing through a very promising phase as both sides have embarked on a number of forward-looking, pragmatic and mutually beneficial initiatives.
“The regular high level exchanges between our two countries in recent past have further cemented the bilateral relations,” he said.
Sonia Gandhi, chairperson of UPA, was here earlier this week as the chief guest at the recently-concluded autism conference and to receive Bangladesh Freedom Honour conferred on late Indian prime minister Indira Gandhi.
Vice president of India also visited Dhaka in May on the occasion of inauguration of joint celebration of the 150th birth anniversary of Rabindranath Tagore, the Indian minister said.
“These events testify the shared struggle and sacrifice by peoples of the two countries.”
The Indian minister further said considerable progress has been made in implementation of joint communiqué declared during the visit of prime minister Sheikh Hasina to Delhi last year.
“Prime minister Sheikh Hasina’s visit to India in January 2010 has given a new direction to our relationship,” he said.
The two prime ministers had a common vision for the future of cooperation between the two countries, he added.
“The joint communiqué adopted during the visit outlines various decisions and initiatives implementation of which would transform the bilateral relationship.”
India attaches highest importance to its relations with Bangladesh and seeks a deeper and stronger partnership, Chidambaram said.
“We are guided by the fundamental premise that a stable, prosperous, democratic and peaceful Bangladesh is in our mutual interest.”
India is committed to pursuing cooperation with Bangladesh that brings prosperity to the peoples and development to the two countries, he added.
Prime minister Manmohan Singh is looking forward to his visit to Bangladesh on September 6-7 on the invitation of Sheikh Hasina to take forward a mutually beneficial cooperation as envisaged by the two leaders, he said.