AMRITSAR, Dec 10 - Difference of perception leads to the differences in the methods of guarding India�s international borders in the eastern and western sectors and the security along the border with Pakistan is much more stringent than that in the border with Bangladesh.
The reasons for attempts of foreign nationals to sneak into India are also different in eastern and western sector and the items of smuggling are also quite different as narcotics smuggling is a major problem in the western sector, which is not the case in the eastern sector.
Talking to The Assam Tribune here, the Deputy Inspector General of Border Security Force (BSF), Amritsar, JS Oberoi, who also has the experience of working in the eastern sector, said that the difference of perception is the main reason for the difference in the methods of border guarding in eastern and western sectors. He pointed out that as Pakistan is considered to be a hostile country, the task of the border guarding force is tougher and the security is much tighter. But on the other hand, Bangladesh is considered to be a friendly country and the methods of border guarding are different.
Oberoi pointed out that along the international border with Pakistan, the border guarding forces only use lethal weapons to check any infiltration bid from across the border. But in case of the border with Bangladesh, the forces normally use non lethal weapons and rubber bullets. The forces are allowed to use lethal weapons only on self defence.
The quality of the fencing is also much better in the western sector and flood lights were installed along the fencing long back. Moreover, the entire fencing is electrified at night and anyone touching the fencing will suffer badly, Oberoi said. He also pointed out that there is no habitation right up to the fencing, which makes it easier for the personnel of the border guarding force to see anyone approaching from some distance. But in the eastern sector, there are human habitations right up to the zero line and that, coupled with thick vegetation, make it difficult for the BSF personnel to see anyone approaching the fencing from a distance.
The BSF DIG said that Punjab has 553 kilometres of international border with Pakistan and only 40 kilometres could not be fenced because of the riverine international border. But the unfenced areas are properly guarded with �laser walls� and various other ways and �we can say confidently that the monitoring of such areas is even better than the fenced portions.� Moreover, the lateral roads leading to the international border are also in good shape, which makes movement of the troops easier.
Giving an account of the differences in reasons for infiltration in eastern and western sector, Oberoi said that most of the infiltrations from Bangladesh take place because of economic reasons, which is not the case in the western sector. He revealed that in most cases, infiltration from Pakistan take place due to ideological reasons to create problems in India and that is why, the level of motivation of the infiltrators is much higher. He said that there have been instances where the infiltrators carry lethal and modern weapons. One type of infiltration is the normal way of trying to sneak into India , while, there are instances of �forced infiltrations� where some persons try to engage the troops in a gun battle while, the others try to sneak in. Exchange of fire is also very common in the western sector, which is not the case in the eastern sector.
While, cattle smuggling is a major problem in the eastern sector, narcotics smuggling has become a major headache for the border guarding personnel in the western sector. Oberoi revealed that �narco terrorism� has become a major issue as terrorist groups from Pakistan have been trying to smuggle in heroin and other narcotics to India. Such narcotics originate in Afghanistan and smugglers and terrorists try to smuggle such substances into India from Pakistan and the money earned is used for terrorism. He said that the people involved in narcotics smuggling are also using modern weapons and on September 20, BSF personnel seized four kilograms of heroin along with one AK-47 rifle and one pistol.
Another aspect which helps the troops operating along the international border in Punjab is that the villagers living near the border are mostly pro-Indian forces. Oberoi said that at least one person from each family is working in one force of the country or another and that is why the people are always ready to cooperate with the forces, which is a big positive for the personnel of the BSF.