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Bangladesh assures to check infiltration
Manoj C G in New Delhi | March 02, 2007 18:35 IST
Heeding to India's concerns persisting for several years, Bangladesh has promised to take steps to check infiltration from its side and agreed to share information about Northeast insurgent camps.
The Bangladeshi side also agreed to allow developmental activities taking place on the Indian side within 150 yards of the border and permit tea plantations till the Zero Line barring some stretches.
These significant assurances were given during the ongoing four-day biannual Director General level meeting between BSF and Bangladesh Rifles here against the backdrop of regular skirmishes between the two forces.
"They have agreed to share information on terror groups, if there are any, and cooperate with us," BSF Director General A K Mitra told PTI when asked about New Delhi's demands for a crackdown on ultras having bases in Bangladesh.
India says it has concrete evidence of nearly 200 camps of various insurgent groups like ULFA, National Liberation Front of Tripura, All Tripura Tiger Force, National Democratic Front of Bodoland and Kamtapur Liberation Organisation in Bangladesh.
Dhaka has been denying the existence of such camps.
On infiltration, he said, "They are very clear and told us that we will not allow anybody to go near the border."
The border areas in West Bengal and Northeast witness regular exchange of fire as the BSF alleges that BDR personnel often open fire to provide cover to infiltrators and cattle and currency smugglers.
Mitra said infiltration along the 4096-km porous border has shown a declining trend lately although it has not stopped completely. "This is because of fencing of the border and efforts made by Bangladesh," he added.
"The Bangladeshi side also assured that developmental activities will not be stopped within 150 yards of the border. This is a positive development," the BSF DG added.
This assurance is a significant climb down as the BDR had been opposed to construction of structures within 150 yards of Zero Line and barbed fire fencing of the border.
BSF has often claimed that BDR personnel opened fire to stop construction activities near the border, a charge time and again denied by Dhaka.
The two sides also decided to set up a mechanism to identify around 50 disputed developmental works within the next three months, Mitra said, adding a Deputy Inspector
General from BSF and a Senior Commandant from BDR will discuss the issue.
BDR also promised to permit tea plantations, which will help people in the border regions in North Bengal, Mitra said.
The issue of fencing, however, did not figure in the talks between Mitra and his Bangladesh counterpart Shakeel Ahmed as it is being discussed at a government-to-government level.BSF officials said the talks were held in a cordial atmosphere, without the usual belligerence associated with such meetings, and the Bangladeshi side approached the meeting in a realistic manner. The talks were held after an unusual gap of 17 months.