DHAKA, Sept 27 � India and Bangladesh today agreed to step up cooperation to combat illegal infiltration, smuggling of narcotics and prevent casualties in cross-border firing as they ended a key conference of frontier guards here, reports PTI.
The five-day Director General level conference between Bangladesh Rifles (BDR) and Border Security Force discussed a series of issues, including combating illegal infiltration and narcotics smuggling and preventing casualties in cross-border firing along the common porous frontier areas.
BDR chief Maj Gen Rafiqul Islam, who was head of the 22-member delegation at the talks, said the discussions focused on two precise issues � smuggling, particularly drugs which spoils the young generation, and deaths of Bangladeshi people along the border. He said a list of smuggling points with pictures was handed over to his Indian counterpart and the BSF assured him that they would take steps against it.
BSF chief Raman Srivastava, who was leading a 20-member Indian delegation, assured that steps would be taken to minimise the problems along the common border without loss of lives. �We are trying our best to minimise the problems without loss of lives,� he told a press briefing at the end of conference at the BDR Headquarters in the capital. The BSF chief said they are exploring alternatives to minimise the firing at the border.
On the outcome of the conference, Srivastava said: �We are going back with positive impression and this meeting will remain as landmark.� Islam said the outcome of the meeting was satisfactory.
The conference, which began on September 22, ended today with the signing of a joint record of discussion. Both sides agreed to strengthen border patrol on their respective side and exchange information to check cross-border crimes.
Asked about the alleged killing of Bangladeshi civilians along the border, Srivastava said �it should not be called �killing,� a better term is death.�
�All these people are dying inside the Indian territory, not in Bangladesh territory,� the BSF chief said, adding almost half of the dead are �Indian criminals.�
He underlined that these people trespass the border by cutting fences or by other means at dead of the night with intention of smuggling. �We�ve no desire to kill people. We�re doing our best to reduce such incidents,� Srivastava said.
He said the Indian side imposes curfew at night along the border and Bangladesh side may also do the same to avoid these incidents. Asked about the BSF proposal to impose night curfew along the border, the BDR chief said it is not possible at this point of time. However, Islam said restrictions on movement along the border have already been imposed to avoid unpleasant incidents.
India and Bangladesh also discussed ways to increase mutual cooperation between the two border security forces.