Friday, August 5, 2011


After signing a number of deals and attaining certain strategic and political benefits from Bangladesh, India now feels comfortable with security cooperation with the eastern neighbour that she helped gain independence in 1971.

Following a series of high-profile visits by Indian Foreign Minister, Indian Home Minister and Indian National Congress president in the last couple of weeks, India appears determined to conclude a broader and strategic agreement during the forthcoming Dhaka visit of Indian Prime Minister next month.

After a meeting with Bangladesh Home Minister Sahara Khatun in Dhaka last week, Indian Home Minister P Chidambaram told a joint press conference that both the neighbours were determined to jointly combat the menace of militancy and terrorism along the borders. He was here ahead of Indian PM's September 6-7 visit.

Asked if the Indian complaints about Bangladesh patronage of separatist elements was still valid, Chidambaram said, on the contrary, on numerous occasions he appreciated Dhaka's splendid cooperation in supporting New Delhi to apprehend insurgents.

In the past, India always complained that insurgents found Bangladesh's territory a safe haven, a charge Dhaka denied.

He said both the countries resolved "not to allow their respective territory to be used for training, sanctuary and other operations by domestic or foreign terrorists or militants and insurgent organizations and their operatives".

Indian Home Minister Chidambaram said he has formally requested his counterpart to hand over ULFA leader Anup Chetia.

Chetia is in jail in Bangladesh and there is a case pending against him in a court. "We have requested that Chetia be handed over as soon as possible," Chidambaram said.

Indian media reported quoting official sources that there is a strong possibility of Chetia being handed over to India ahead of the Prime Minister's visit to Dhaka in September.
Border killing 
India has ordered its border guards BSF not to fire at people seeking to cross over along the porous Indo-Bangla frontier, except for self-defence, home minister P Chidambaram said last Saturday in Dhaka.

He said: "Let me make it very clear, we have issued strict instructions to our Border Security Force (BSF) that in no circumstances should they fire upon anyone trying to cross either from Bangladesh to India or (from) India to Bangladesh. The message has gone down to the last jawan... The only circumstances we have set the firing may be justified when gangs actually attack BSF jawans or officials (as) everybody has (the) right to protect himself in self-defence."

India and Bangladesh inked a comprehensive border management agreement to ensure cross-frontier security through measures like joint vigils to deal with human trafficking and smuggling of drugs and weapons.
Make deals public: BNP 
BNP acting secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir has urged the government to make public the Border Management Coordination Plan it signed with India last week."The present government has become hostage to India... it has no success in settling Bangladesh's unresolved problems with India," he said
Fakhrul mentioned unresolved issues are continued killing of innocent Bangladeshis by the Indian border force, maritime boundary, Tipaimukh Dam, huge trade deficit, and the sharing of the waters of the Ganges and the Teesta.

He said Bangladesh has continued giving India whatever it wanted but in return getting nothing.

"We want good relation with India too. But it will have to be based on equity, protecting the interest of our people," he said.

Opposition BNP on Monday also accused the government of playing a guessing game about the possible deal on water sharing of the Teesta River with India during Indian premier's upcoming Bangladesh visit.

BNP vice-chairman Maj (retd) Hafizuddin Ahmed told media last week that they came to know that a concrete decision will be finalised on sharing Teesta water during Dr Manmohan Singh's Dhaka visit. He said the government is maintaining 'extreme secrecy' over this important deal, keeping us all in the dark.
Land given to India 
Meanwhile, tension runs high on the Bangladesh-India frontier in Tamabil area as the Indian Border Security Force (BSF) walked into Bangladesh territory on Friday morning, well ahead of an accord signed between the two countries over swap of adversely possessed land.

Local sources said the BSF troops occupied 261 acres of Bangladesh land and erected poles.

The border guards of the neighbouring country are also intercepting Bangladeshis from going to their croplands.

Bangladesh survey team handed over the long-disputed strip of land to the Indian authorities through conducting joint survey on the land.

A Bangladesh member of the joint survey team told the media that "Some 220 acres of land from No 1270 to 1271 border pillar, 33 acres from No 1277 to 1279 pillar of Naljuri border and 8 acres from No 1263 to 1267 pillar of Linkhat border were handed over to India in phases in last one week."

Local people have not been informed about the matter due to safety of the survey- team members.

Earlier, the Bangladesh government had handed over a piece of land to India on Padua border, the frontier that had been troubled by a skirmish between the border forces of the two countries during the previous tenure of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.

Meanwhile, the UNB news agency reported Bangladesh is conceding another 13.5 acres of cultivable land to India at Kulum Chhara in Goainghat upazila in Sylhet.
Tuku defends treaty 
Meanwhile, the state minister for home has said there is nothing to hide in the treaty signed with India for better border management. "There is nothing secret. We've signed it to prevent shooting and killing along the border," Shamsul Hoque Tuku said on Sunday.

Responding to BNP's demand to make the report public, Tuku told reporters that the treaty was signed to stop drug and human trafficking. "Bangladesh will benefit from this treaty." The state minister, however, ducked a query on the publication of the report.

"...Since BGB and BSF would work together, we hope border security will get a boost, and human trafficking and smuggling of drugs and arms will be effectively prevented," he added.