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India, B'desh begin joint border patrol

M Chhaya in Kolkata | May 25, 2005 20:38 IST

Border guards of India and Bangladesh have begun patrolling their porous frontier jointly to curb illegal migration and the movement of international criminals, an Indian official said on Wednesday.

India had been long demanding that the forces jointly patrol the 4094-km border, but Dhaka, angry with New Delhi's regular accusations that it harboured terrorist groups, had repeatedly shot down the proposal.

The two border guard forces finally began their coordinated vigil on the weekend after a meeting between their commanders in Dhaka in April and subsequent negotiations between the two governments.

"Simultaneous coordinated patrol has started in a few sectors. It will cover the entire border," S K Mitra, deputy inspector general of India's Border Security Force told

"This decision can be considered as a confidence building measure between the two border forces," Mitra continued.

Mitra said simultaneous border patrolling will ensure 'enhanced surveillance profile along the border' that will bring down border crimes, movement of international criminals and illegal migration.

New Delhi often accuses its impoverished eastern neighbour of turning a blind eye to illegal migration into India.

"This measure will also improve the confidence and faith of border villagers in the two forces and provide greater security in their minds," Mitra said.

Mitra said Indian and Bangladeshi personnel will now guard the border as part of a coordinated strategy to ensure that the maximum stretch in covered with effective patrolling.

"It could mean border guards starting from one predetermined point on the zero line could walk in the opposite direction, or in the same direction side-by-side," Mitra said.

"These strategies can be discussed, but obviously we will not announce them publicly because the element of surprise will be lost," Mitra said.

India is building a wire fence along its border with Bangladesh. The project will complete in 2007.


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