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India, Bangladesh differ on border fencing issue

September 30, 2005 19:27 IST
Differences persisted between India and Bangaldesh on the issues of border fencing and cross-border infiltration as the border guards of the two countries wrapped up their talks resolving to strengthen Confidence Building Measures through stepped up simultaneous and co-ordinated patrolling.

"We have decided to expand simultaneous, co-ordinated patrolling, exchange of training facilities and conduct exchanges in the fields of sports and culture," Border Security Force Director General R S Mooshahary, flanked by his Bangladesh Rifles counterpart Major General Jehangir Alam Choudhury, briefed reporters on the outcome of the three-day meeting.

However, the question of fencing of the 4095 kilometre-long border between the two countries remained unresolved with Bangladesh resisting the move contending that the fencing has "a defensive structure" attached to it. "We want to conduct border fencing to the level of zero-line due to topographical reasons.

However, BDR is opposed to it, saying such fencing is "defensive in structure," Mooshahary said. The BSF DG said his force has suggested to BDR that it would hand over a list of those areas where such zero line fencing is required so that it can be approved by Bangladesh government. He also said no agreement was reached on BSF's two-year old proposal for transport through the Brahmaputra river, a floating border outpost.

On the question of cross-border infiltration, BDR stuck to its stand that there was no insurgent group operating in its territory even as BSF insisted insurgent leaders like United Liberation Front of Asom's Paresh Barua and Anup Chetia were in Bangladesh.

The BDR Chief also alleged some "criminal elements in India" had colluded with similar groups in Bangladesh and were responsible for the August 17 country-wide bombings.

"Yes. It is the criminals from India who had crossed over and along with criminals in our country... were responsible for the blasts," Chowdhury said. Mooshahary however, denied the allegation and said there was only one Indian among the over 500 arrested in Bangladesh after the bombings and added this person named Niazuddin had been living in Bangladesh rpt Bangladesh for the past 17 years. "It is known internationally that leaders of North-East insurgent groups like Baruah and Chetia are in Bangladesh," he said.

On the issue of the killing of BSF officer Jeewan Kumar allegedly by BDR personnel along the border with Tripura in April this year, Chowdhury said an investigation by top Bangladeshi officials has exonerated BDR from the incident. Mooshahary, however expressed dissatisfaction with the investigation carried out by Bangladesh and insisted the officer was shot dead by BDR personnel when he crossed over to the Bangladeshi side unarmed for discssions with BDR personnel.

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