Resolving to maintain a tranquil border, India and Bangladesh today signed an agreement to make joint efforts to tackle cross-border crimes like arms smuggling and trafficking of women and children.
At the end of the five-day border coordination conference here, the Border Security Force and Bangladesh Rifles agreed to jointly deal with trafficking of women and children, counterfeit currency and arms smuggling through a mechanism of sharing of timely actionable information by sector commanders.
"The agreement will help both BSF and BDR to deal with such matters expeditiously at ground level," Director General of BSF A K Mitra told reporters after signing the agreement with Director General of BDR Major General Shakil Ahmed.
Mitra said efforts would be made for getting information on cross-border crimes, illegal immigration, maintenance of border pillars at the sector commander level for better coordination and immediate action.
He said sector commanders would take pro-active steps to resolve the problems of the local population in border areas.
Ahmed said BDR was committed to make the border secure and peaceful.
"The agreement will help to end any suspicion and distrust prevailing on the ground level," he said.
Asked about the recent firing incidents between the two forces in North Bengal sector, Ahmed said Bangladesh wanted a peaceful border and such incidents have come down significantly.
"Neither BDR, nor BSF have any intention to fire at each other," Ahmed said.
He also favoured joint patrolling by BSF and BDR to check border crimes and increase bonhomie.
Asked about the issue of cattle smuggling from India to Bangladesh, the BDR chief admitted that it was indeed a problem and hoped that it would come to an end once Dhaka legalises import of cattle from India.
"Government of Bangladesh is planning to import cattle legally from India. Then the smuggling will automatically stop," he said.
On the issue of development of infrastructure facilities within 150 yards of international boundary pertaining to land ports, immigration check posts and land custom stations, Ahmed suggested that the restriction of 150 yards should be waived in view of growing trade ties between the two countries.
The next DG level meeting between the two forces will be held in Dhaka in September.