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Influx through riverine border will pose threat


NEW DELHI, June 1 � India and Bangladesh may be projecting the Land Boundary Agreement (LBA) as a potent tool to curb illegal infiltration from across the border, but influx through the riverine international border is likely to continue, posing a security threat to the North Eastern States, mainly Assam.

Officials said that India and Bangladesh share a 4096-km long border, including riverine border, and it is here that the security forces would face the maximum challenge in curbing influx.

Sources said that the Ministry of Home Affairs is firming up plans to plug the gaps along the riverine border, but added that it is technically not feasible to effectively seal the Indo-Bangladesh border, implying that illegal influx may continue to torment the North Eastern States bordering Bangladesh.

Meanwhile, Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) sources said that a survey was conducted in 2011 among 37,000 Indians in Bangladesh and 14,000 Bangladeshis in India. Of the 14,000, an estimated five per cent choose to shift to India.

They will be given entry passes and local documents once they decide to remain where they are, or travel passes to enter India, which is being handled by the MHA.

Sources said that the focus mainly would be on people-to-people contact and commercial aspects are not of immediate priority. The transshipment facility through Bangladesh for goods destined for the North East and access to the Chittagong Port is likely to take a back seat.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Narendra Modi is going to flag off the Guwahati-Shillong-Dhaka bus service, besides the Kolkata-Dhaka-Agartala service. Train service from Kolkata to Dhaka is already in operation, while the prospects of a Khulna to Kolkata service are being examined.

Meanwhile, seven more border haats are proposed to be opened in Meghalaya. In 2012, three border haats were opened, including two in Meghalaya and one in Tripura.

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