The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Jolt to border talks

New Delhi, Dec. 1: A Bangladeshi refusal to accept India’s contention that there were militant camps in Dhaka’s territory threatens to jeopardise a meeting of the two sides’ border committee slated for later this month.

Border Security Force (BSF) director-general Ajai Raj Sharma said India had given to Bangladesh a list of 155 camps of the United Liberation Front of Asom, the All Tripura Tigers Force and other outfits active in the Northeast.

The BSF had also proposed joint patrolling of certain stretches along the border with the Bangladesh Rifles (BDR).

Dhaka refuses to acknowledge that Bangladeshi territory is being used by insurgents.

BSF sources claimed that since the Indian brief was given to Dhaka, militant camps have been moved from close to the border to places deeper inside Bangladesh. “We have given a list of 155 camps with exact locations. At first, the Bangladeshis denied their existence. Later they said they would verify. However, they have not got in touch after that,” Sharma said.

The BSF and the BDR had agreed on joint patrolling at the last meeting of the India-Bangladesh border coordination committee in Dhaka earlier this year. The Bangladeshi side had asked India to detail its proposal and work out the technicalities. Delhi has submitted a paper but Dhaka has not responded. The BSF, however, insists that since the Dhaka meeting, relations between the BSF and the BDR have improved.

BSF sources said that till November, about 14,000 migrants were pushed back into Bangladesh. A total of 3,287 km of the Indo-Bangla border had been earmarked for fencing. Of this, a fence has been erected along 1,135 km. Alongside the fence, 2,580 km of 2,866 km of border roads have been paved.

The BSF has inducted additional battalions in Tripura, Assam, Meghalaya and Bengal that were earlier engaged in counter-insurgency operations in Manipur. More units of the BSF being disengaged from Jammu and Kashmir are likely to be deployed along the border with Bangladesh.

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