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Call for multi-layer security in riverine areas

By R Dutta Choudhury

GUWAHATI, Dec 12 - A multi-tier security should be put in place to guard the international riverine border with Bangladesh, which is considered to be the most vulnerable, while, taking advantage of the improved relations with the neighbouring country, the Government of India can explore the feasibility of bringing in floating border outposts to improve vigil along the Brahmaputra river. This was the view expressed by former Additional Director General of Border Security Force (BSF) Hemant Desai.

Talking to The Assam Tribune, Desai, who has had the experience of working in guarding the international border with Bangladesh in different capacities during his career, admitted that the riverine international border is the most vulnerable and there is need for strengthening vigil along it to secure the borders of the country. He admitted that only patrolling by speedboats by the BSF personnel would not be adequate considering the vulnerability. He suggested that in addition to speedboat patrolling, deployment of security personnel along the river bank on the Indian side, particularly in the vulnerable stretches, should be augmented, while the Border Police wing of the Assam Police should be strengthened so that personnel of the force can be deployed along the banks. He said the police should also try to improve intelligence gathering along the international border areas.

Desai revealed that during his time as the DIG of the BSF in Guwahati, a decision was taken to bring in at least two floating border outposts (BOPs) to guard the riverine international border in Dhubri district. Two such BOPs were also constructed in Mumbai but those could not be brought in as the Bangladesh government at that time opposed the idea of bringing through that country. But with improved ties with Bangladesh, the government can now think of pursuing the issue again with the neighbouring country. The idea was that the floating BOPs would have at least four speedboats attached to them and it would give better coverage of the area. He also said that the floating BOPs deployed in the Sundarban area of West Bengal are of great help to the BSF.

The former BSF official further said that the areas where the BOPs can be deployed should be selected carefully as the water level of the Brahmaputra sometimes comes down drastically during the dry season and it would not be possible to deploy the BOPs in all the places. He stressed the need for a proper technical assessment of the water level before bringing in the floating BOPs.

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