PC soothes Dhaka
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- Published 31.07.11
Dhaka, July 30: Home minister P. Chidambaram today said “strict instructions” had been issued to the BSF not to shoot anyone who tried to cross the border with Bangladesh.
The comment, amid pressure to resolve border issues plaguing Indo-Bangla ties, came days after a New York-based human rights organisation urged India to investigate killings of Bangladeshis by the Border Security Force.
Chidambaram, who is on a one-day visit to Dhaka, today signed a comprehensive frontier deal with the neighbour. The deal is expected to resolve all outstanding frontier issues, including combating cross-border crimes.
“The agreement will enhance quality of border management as well as ensure (cross-border) security,” he said.
Chidambaram said incidents of deaths in BSF firing had drastically come down as “strict instructions” had been issued asking Indian border guards not to shoot anyone who “attempted to cross or crossed” the borders.
He said BSF personnel were asked to use their weapons for “self defence” only if they came under attack by armed gangs on the frontlines.
Listing the progress in efforts to strengthen bilateral ties, Chidambaram said the headcount of enclave residents had been completed earlier this month. He said the population of enclaves had been found to be 51,000 and a process was on to exchange these pockets.
He said the issue of the undemarcated 6.5km border had been “nearly resolved” and was expected to be settled during Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s September 6-7 visit to Bangladesh.
Chidambaram said cross-border security was a major concern of India and Bangladesh but “both the countries recognise the importance of co-operation in the field of security and (are) determined to jointly combat the menace of militancy, insurgency and terrorism”.
Asked if the allegation about Bangladeshi patronage for Indian separatists was still valid, Chidambaram said during his past two-and-a-half years in the home ministry, no such allegation had been made by New Delhi.
“We are glad that our leaderships have agreed not to allow their territories for activities inimical against each other’s countries,” said Chidambaram, who led a 12-member delegation from Delhi comprising BSF chief Raman Srivastava and senior officials of the home and foreign ministries.
Chidambaram assured the Bangladesh Prime Minister that India would consider introducing on-board immigration on the Dhaka-Calcutta train service to minimise sufferings of passengers who have to sometimes wait for as long as eight hours at the border to clear the immigration process by Indian officials.