NEW DELHI, Dec 3 - India and Bangladesh are expected to hold their Director General-level border talks in Guwahati later this month, the first time the biannual meeting will be held outside Delhi, official sources said.
The 51st edition of this high-level meeting will be held between the Border Security Force (BSF) and its counterpart Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) beginning December 22. Discussions on curbing a variety of border crimes and enhancing cooperation between the two countries are expected to be held for four days.
Guwahati is the base for BSF�s Guwahati frontier headquarters whose troops guard 495 km of the 4,096 km long India-Bangladesh border that runs along Assam and some parts of West Bengal.
A special BSF water wing that keeps vigil along the riverine border areas including Dhubri in Assam is under the command of this frontier of the border force.
This is the first time since these biannual talks began in 1993 that they are being held outside Delhi. The meeting being held near the border may also allow the officials from the two sides to jointly visit some border areas in Assam, sources said, stating the reason behind holding the talks outside Delhi.
The Director General-level talks were held annually between 1975 and 1992 but they were made biannual in 1993 with either side alternatively travelling to the national capitals of New Delhi and Dhaka.
A delegation led by BSF Director General Rakesh Asthana had visited Dhaka for these talks in September.
Asthana will lead the talks again with his BGB counterpart Maj Gen Shafeenul Islam, the sources said.
The current relations between the two countries and the forces are very good and both sides will take them forward during these talks, officials said.
While the Indian side is expected to take up the issue of joint border security management, fencing of unfenced areas and undertaking effective steps to curb cross-border crimes, the Bangladeshi border force is expected to take up issues related to the killing of its people along the front.
During the last meeting, Asthana said the killing of criminals along the front will be �made to reduce significantly� even as he reiterated that his troops only fire when their lives are endangered by cross-border miscreants. BSF personnel fire with non-lethal weapon only in self-defence when they are surrounded by armed miscreants.
The two sides are also expected to firm up new standard operating procedures in view of the crossing over of a �significant� number of mentally challenged Indian nationals to Bangladesh, a plan mooted by the BSF chief.