Thursday, August 4, 2011

Better cross-border relations expected

Relations between India and Bangladesh is such that no side can deny the importance of the devoted involvement of the other in tackling regional issues like cross border smuggling, drug and human trafficking and, at the international level, the constant menace of terrorism and extremism. Of course this comprehension is not recent and has been with us since the Liberation War in which the assistance and support of our neighbouring country is well documented and acknowledged. However, over the years there have been times when Indo-Bangladesh relations came under strains and the trust of the two neighbours eroded yielding place to an uneasy calm that defined the frayed relations. For instance, rampant cross border smuggling led to tensions between the two border guarding forces and, over the years, other issues like shooting of villagers who have transgressed the border either by accident or by being involved in some illegal transactions came to weigh heavily on the overall ties of the two states. But, in the recent series of secretary and ministerial level meets there has been a lot of bonhomie and a desire from both sides to settle some of the contentious matters and usher in an age of entente cordiale. At the ministerial stage meeting, the issue of enclaves that fall in the territory of the other country was discussed as well as the united effort from both nations to tackle elements that disrupt social harmony by inciting extremism. All this is encouraging but what is essential is that both the nations see the implementation of these decisions as fast as possible. The border with India is 4000km and, understandably, such a long and porous area can be exploited for an assortment of unlawful activities. But if there is a genuine desire from both sides a lot of the irregularities can be minimised. 

Obviously expectations need to be kept within rational parameters while unrealistic results should not be projected. But actions on the agreed and decided points must begin and one of the first steps required in the attainment of that aim is the development of an understanding between the two border security forces since many of the frictions arise at the borders. Of course, when two countries share such a long border area and a considerable number of people reside near the demarcation areas problems will arise but links between the two nations only become solid when thorny matters are settled quickly and before they turn ugly. Additionally, other lingering matters also need urgent attention so that they can be resolved amicably and soon.