More non-lethal arms on Indo-Bangla border; total fencing soon

India is planning to arm more of its border guarding BSF troops with non-lethal weapons on the porous Indo-Bangla border.

New Delhi: India is planning to arm more of its border guarding BSF troops with non-lethal weapons on the porous Indo-Bangla border.

It has also initiated plans to secure riverine patches on this frontier from illegal crossings and activities.

"The use of non-lethal weapons has brought unqualified success (in border guarding duties). Initially, there would have been some reservations about such methods but now this is the way to go forward. We will try to have more non-lethal weapons on this (Indo-Bangla) border," Border Security Force (BSF) chief Subhash Joshi told reporters here on completion of five-day talks with the Border Guards Bangladesh (BGB).

A 23-member BGB delegation, led by their Director General (DG) Maj Gen Aziz Ahmed, is in Delhi for bi-annual talks between the two forces.

With the introduction of such weapons, the causalities amongst 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 tear gas shells. We are going for more and more of such weapons," the BSF DG 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 the BSF about two years back.

BGB DG Ahmed said Bangladesh "neither harbours nor will harbour any insurgent from any of its neighbours" and that has been the stated policy of his country.

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," he said.

The BSF DG said a total of 911-kms of the Indo-Bangla border (27 percent), out of the total 4,096-kms, is unfenced.

"Out of the sanctioned 3,436 kilometres, 2,525-kms has been completed," Joshi said.
He said inadvertent crossings by troops of the two forces into each others` territories have been reduced now with only one young BSF constable crossing over to the other side this year.

Ahmed said both the countries have agreed for coordinated border patrolling along the border.

"We will soon inaugurate a floating border outpost in the Sunderbans area," he said.

Ahmed denied that the Shahbagh protests in Bangladesh had led to any "largescale migration" along the Indo-Bangla border.

Among other things, the two sides discussed cross-border crimes, smuggling of cattle, fake Indian currency, narcotics, illegal human trafficking and fencing at various patches.

Development works along this border and implementation of the coordinated border management plan and other confidence building measures were also discussed during the five day talks, Joshi said.

The BGB delegation will leave for Dhaka tomorrow.


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