Indo-Bangla border talks begin in Agartala

A district magistrate-cum-collector level joint border conference between India and Bangladesh was held here on Tuesday.

Agartala: A district magistrate-cum-collector level joint border conference between India and Bangladesh was held here on Tuesday.

India was represented at the talks by officials of the Tripura Government, while Bangladesh was represented by a team of deputy commissioners-cum-magistrates, and was held at the state guest house here.

The two-day conference discussed issues such as ways to tackle smuggling, trans-border crime, insurgent movements, narcotics, human trafficking and improving border management between the two countries.

At the end of day one of the talks, both teams expressed satisfaction and said such deliberations not only help to mutually sort out disputes at the grass root level, but also help promote confidence building between two nations.

They said they were in favour of more frequent dialogues for better coordination.

"Most of the northeast Indian states share borders with Bangladesh, and we have seen over the years, that there are small issues in the border districts that require local-level intervention. Accordingly, the two governments decided to organize meetings at the DM and DC level to resolve those small issues. Every six months, these meetings will take place," said Abhishek Singh, DM and Collector of West Tripura District.

"The issues we have discussed are cross border crimes, drugs, smuggling, cattle lifting and other issues like integrated check post and how to have better import-export, how to streamline the arrangements. Issue related to joint patrolling and border pillar issues were discussed. The discussion was very meaningful and purposeful and tomorrow we shall sign the joint minutes," he added.

Echoing similar views, Md. Shamsul Arefin, DCM of Rangamati District added that the Border Guards Bangladesh is building more border out posts (BOPs) in Rangamati on the request of the Border Security Force of India.

"We have come to India to discuss issues that concern us and to build our mutual relations. We believe that all problems can be sorted out through discussions. We have exchanged our phone numbers and mail Ids. We shall exchange information to help us to take action against criminals. Earlier, the process was lengthy, but now, through the fast exchange of information between the DMs, BSF, BGB and police, it will help to reduce crime. We have taken initiatives to build more BOPs to have more access," he stated.

Mohammad Kamrul Hassan, DC Moulavi Bazar, said, "The discussion was very meaningful and we discussed about bordering issues like drug trafficking, smuggling and patrolling was discussed in this meeting and we have take some decisions to resolve these problems at our level. Between BSF and BGB flag meetings take place frequently but this type of meeting helps to build more ties and confidence will be developed."

A 25-member delegation from Bangladesh, including district commissioner-cum-magistrates (DCMs), Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) officials, Superintendent of Police of four bordering districts - Brahmanbaria, Moulavi Bazar, Rangamati and Habiganj attended the meeting with their Indian counterparts.
DCMs, SPs and the Commandant of Border Security Force (BSF) of six bordering districts - West Tripura, Unokoti, North Tripura, Khowai, Dhalai and Sepahijala attended the meeting.

Tripura, which is surrounded by Bangladesh on three sides, has an 857-km-long border with the latter, and therefore, border disputes are very common.

Similar conferences are expected to be held in Assam and Meghalaya as well.