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Dhaka urged to crackdown on Indian separatist bases

A formal proposal regarding this would be placed at the three-day meet of senior BSF and BDR officials that begins today in Shillong.

india Updated: Aug 29, 2006 12:46 IST
Indo-Asian News Service
Indo-Asian News Service

India will ask Dhaka to launch a military crackdown against Indian separatist guerrillas based inside Bangladesh, officials said on Tuesday.

An Indian Border Security Force (BSF) commander said a formal proposal would be placed at the three-day meeting of senior BSF and Bangladesh Rifles (BDR) officials that begins Tuesday in Shillong, capital of the northeastern Indian state of Meghalaya.

"We shall be submitting a list of 172 camps and hideouts belonging to various militant groups operating in the northeast located inside Bangladesh and seek Dhaka's cooperation to bust all such bases immediately," BSF Inspector General SK Dutta said.

India will be represented in the talks by Dutta, while the 10-member BDR team is being led by its deputy director general, Brigadier General SM Golam Rabbani.

"Cross-border terrorism is a matter of very serious concern for us and hence our focus on the talks will be to convince Bangladesh to act positively," Dutta said.

Dhaka has repeatedly denied any presence of Indian separatist bases inside their territory. New Delhi has on several occasions said northeastern rebel groups have set up well-entrenched bases inside Bangladesh.

India and Bangladesh share a 4,095 km border with more than half falling within the northeastern states of Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura and Mizoram.

The largely unfenced border between the two countries along the northeastern region helps militants to set up bases inside Bangladesh to carry out their hit-and-run guerrilla strikes on Indian soldiers.

India has often alleged that Bangladeshi citizens enter Indian territory illegally across the porous border. Bangladesh denies the charge.

"The issue of illegal immigration from Bangladesh will also figure prominently in the talks as this is a major problem across the region," the BSF commander said.

Land disputes along the porous frontier have often led to violent border skirmishes with security forces of the two countries clashing frequently.

There have been a series of clashes, with heavy mortar attacks by the BDR killing two Indian women in Assam two weeks ago.

Sixteen Indian and three Bangladeshi soldiers were killed in 2001 in the deadliest such battles in Assam and Meghalaya.

"This is another area we need to discuss threadbare as frequent clashes between the forces of the two countries is not a healthy sign," Dutta said.

The Assam government last month charged Dhaka of illegally grabbing two sq km of Indian land in western and southern parts of the state.

First Published: Aug 29, 2006 12:46 IST