Published: Saturday, March 23, 2013

BGB worried at border killing

BSF pledges to use more non-lethal weapons

Amid Dhaka’s concern over the killing of Bangladeshis on its border with India, New Delhi plans to give more non-lethal weapons to BSF personnel deployed along the frontier.
India has also initiated plans to secure riverine patches on the border from illegal crossings and activities.
“The use of non-lethal weapons has brought unqualified success. Initially, there would have been some reservations about such methods but now this is the way to go forward,” Border Security Force chief Subhash Joshi told reporters in the Indian capital at the end of the five-day talks with the Border Guard Bangladesh.
“We will try to have more non-lethal weapons on this border.”
With the introduction of such weapons, the casualties among civilians have come down “drastically” which is a welcome move for both the neighbours, the BSF DG said.
“These weapons have got wider acceptance by everyone. We are constantly looking at newer methods and introduction of pump-action guns, taser guns, stun grenades and teargas. We are going for more and more of such weapons,” Joshi said after the two sides signed a joint record of discussion aimed at curbing trans-border crimes like narcotics smuggling and human trafficking.
These weapons were introduced in a phase-wise manner by BSF about two years ago while Bangladesh repeatedly voiced concern over the killing of its nationals by the Indian border guards.
A 23-member BGB delegation led by its Director General Maj Gen Aziz Ahmed was in New Delhi for bi-annual talks between the two forces.
The BGB DG said Bangladesh “neither harbours nor will harbour any insurgent from any of its neighbours” and that has been the stated policy of his country.
Both the countries have agreed on coordinated border patrolling along the border, he said, adding, “We will soon inaugurate a floating border outpost in the Sundarbans area.”
Joshi said both the countries have identified 175 patches along the 4,096 kilometre border which are vulnerable and both the forces will conduct joint patrolling here.
“In one or two years, the fencing on this border should be completed. The patches where we cannot do the fencing like riverine borders…we are looking for modern technological solutions.”
The BSF DG noted a total of 911km of the Indo-Bangladesh border (27 percent), out of the total 4,096km, is unfenced. “Out of the sanctioned 3,436 kilometres, 2,525km has been completed.”
He said inadvertent crossings by troops of the two forces into each other’s territories have come down with only one young BSF constable crossing over to the other side this year.
In a month’s time BGB and BSF will be performing ‘retreat’ ceremony by lowering flags along the Petrapole-Benapole frontier, similar to the tradition prevalent along the India-Pakistan border.
Both the countries have begun creating infrastructure for visitors on their respective side to witness the event in the evening, the BSF chief said.
India and Pakistan have been traditionally hosting the flag-lowering ceremony at the Wagah-Attari border.