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Porous border

By The Assam Tribune

The Government of India has decided to complete the process of sealing the India-Bangladesh border by 2024 and one hopes that the deadline will be met this time as earlier also, several such deadlines were announced by the government and those remained on paper only. Though Union Home Minister Amit Shah claimed that the rate of infiltration of foreigners from Bangladesh came down with the change of attitude of the government, the porous international border remains vulnerable as along with illegal migrants, elements of terrorist groups have managed to sneak into India through it. The Government of India is now planning to complete the fencing along the land border and improve vigil along the riverine border by using modern technology including sensors, while, it is also using technology used by Israel to improve border guarding.

But the fact remains that patches of the international border remain porous as despite augmenting deployment of Border Security Force (BSF) personnel, it is impossible to physically guard every inch of the border because of the rough terrain. Moreover, the BSF personnel are forced to abandon some of their camps during floods and they have to operate from boats. Under the circumstances, the government should take effective steps to complete the border fencing on a war footing and at the same time, technology used by various advanced countries should be imported, if required, to guard the riverine borders and the patches which cannot be fenced because of the terrain. On its part, the Govt of Assam should also strengthen the second line of defence of the border police force.

The disturbing fact is that growing radicalisation in Bangladesh can pose a threat to India in the days to come as elements of radical forces can spill over to India, particularly to Assam and West Bengal by taking advantage of the demographic pattern in the states. The signs of things to come are evident from the recent arrest of members of the Ansarullah Bangla Team (ABT), which is a wing of dreaded terrorist outfit Al Qaeda. The Assam Police and security agencies, in a recent crackdown, arrested more than 30 members of the ABT including Bangladeshi nationals, but at least five Bangladeshi nationals managed to escape when the operation was launched and no one knows for sure whether they returned to their native land or are hiding somewhere in India. In the past also, another terrorist outfit Jamat Ul Mujaheedin Bangladesh (JMB) tried to establish roots in Assam and West Bengal and their activities came to light only because of an accidental blast in the Burdwan area of West Bengal. These incidents should be eye-openers for the Govt of India and immediate effective steps should be taken to seal the international border with Bangladesh before it is too late.

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