Assures India at talks of 2 border forces in Delhi
Pallab Bhattacharya, New Delhi
India yesterday assured Bangladesh of "zero tolerance" towards killing of innocent Bangladeshi civilians along the border and border guards of the two countries decided to exercise restraint in adverse possession of enclaves.
The assurance came at the four-hour talks held between BDR and BSF at the latter's headquarters at the Central Government Offices complex here.
It is understood that India would address Bangladesh's serious concerns over alleged intrusion by BSF and setting up of a post in Bangladesh territory near Jaintia Hills in Sylhet region.
Later, BDR Director General Maj Gen Mainul Islam told the Daily Star that he flagged three main concerns of Bangladesh not only during the BDR-BSF talks but also during his separate meetings with Indian Home Minister Palaniappan Chidambaram and Home Secretary Gopal Krishna Pillai in the afternoon.
The three concerns, he said, are--"killing of innocent Bangladeshis at the border, phensydyl manufacturing units on Indian side near Bangladesh border and tension between border security forces of the two countries in adverse possession of enclaves."
Mainul, who headed the Bangladeshi team at the talks, said the Indian side "clearly conveyed to us that they would maintain zero tolerance to killing of innocent Bangladeshis at the borders."
He said, however, Bangladesh also accepted in this context that it too "needs to motivate its people" not to undertake any illegal act across the border.
"We have also agreed to motivate our people," he added.
The BDR chief said that when he raised the issue of smuggling of phensydyl syrup from India, the Indian delegation led by BSF Director General Raman Srivastava reiterated that it would try to locate illegal manufacturing units of the syrup along the border to destroy those.
He said there was nothing wrong with phensydyl per se as it was a cough syrup but when it is mixed with "codeine" then it becomes a "burden for the society."
Mainul Islam said the BDR and BSF also agreed to hold more sector commander level meetings to enhance communication at the ground level.
Describing the BDR-BSF talks and his meetings with Chidambaram and Pillai "cordial and successful," he said "we will see the result soon."
"I am very hopeful of a result, which will strengthen relations between the two countries," he said.
The BDR chief said he has conveyed to the Indian side that when the two countries have agreed to strengthen friendly ties at the highest level and this was reflected in the Joint Declaration of January 12 during Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's visit to Delhi, this spirit should trickle down to the lower level also.
Mainul, whose delegation members were drawn also from home, water resources and foreign ministries, will visit Agra, Jaipur and Jodhpur before the two sides come out with agreed minutes tomorrow.