BSF DG arrives in city, formal talks begin tomorrow

DHAKA, Sept 16, 2020 (BSS) – Indian Border Security Force (BSF) Director General (DG) Rakesh Asthana arrived in city today to join a four-day border conference between Bangladeshi and Indian border guards which will formally begin tomorrow at the Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) headquarters here.

“A six-member BSF delegation led by its DG Rakesh Asthana arrived in city by a BGB helicopter entering Bangladesh through Akhaura Integrated Check Post (ICP) to join the (rescheduled) BGB-BSF four-day DG level boarder conference (from September 16 to 19) ,” said a BGB press release here this afternoon.

The formal meeting will start at 10:45am on September 17 (tomorrow) at the conference room in the BGB headquarters in the city, earlier said another BGB press release on Tuesday.

According to the release, BGB Director General (DG) Major General Md Shafeenul Islam will lead a 13-member Bangladesh delegation while his BSF counterpart Rakesh Asthana will lead the six-member delegation in the conference.

The conference will conclude with the signing of a Joint Record of Discussions (JRD) on September 19.

The BGB-BSF DG Level Talks (DGLTs) were scheduled for September 13-18, but it was postponed on September 13 as the BSF delegation could not reach Dhaka on the day due to a technical glitch in their aircraft.

According to officials, the issue of killings on the border is likely to dominate largely the talks between Bangladeshi and Indian border guards as chiefs of the two paramilitary forces set to meet in the four-day conference.

“Border killing is an important issue for us,” a BGB official told BSS on September 11, adding that until August this year, 33 Bangladeshis were killed along Bangladesh-India frontiers.

Talking to BSS, BGB’s operations director Lieutenant Colonel Fayzur Rahman said Bangladesh always laid high importance to violence on the borders as after any incident of killing on borders “we start talks at all levels”.

He said protests are lodged at flag meetings with Boarder Security Force (BSF) at the camp level on the frontiers, while the issue is raised up to the foreign ministry for diplomatic initiatives to stop the phenomenon.

According to rights group Ain O Salish Kendra (ASK), 15 people were killed along the Bangladesh-India border in 2018, the number rose to 43 last year. In the first seven months of this year, 29 people were killed.

The BGB operations director said cross boarder smuggling particularly drug smuggling, construction of different structures like barbed wire fencing and other installations were other issues to be discussed in the meeting.

He, however, described the meeting as a routine one when the two sides would discuss as well the ways to improve relations between the two border forces, alongside other issues of mutual interest.

Reports from New Delhi suggest, cattle smuggling, fake currency business and human trafficking are likely to be the major issues of the BSF side in the talks.

The DG-level talks between BGB and BSF was first held in 1975, while the talks are generally held twice a year, once in Dhaka and once in Delhi for management of porous 4,096 km long frontiers.

The BGB-BSF DGLT is set to be held days ahead of planned foreign minister level Joint Consultative Commission (JCC) meeting using virtual media to be hosted by Dhaka later this month.


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