India – Bangladesh border

  • India shares 4096 km long land boundary with Bangladesh. India’s longest terrestrial border.
  • Trans-border migration from Bangladesh is a major concern in in Assam and Northeast.
  • There are estimated to 15-18 million illegal Bangladeshi immigrants in India, who have spread to all Northeast States with bulk of them in Assam.
  • Their transgression into land and providing cheap labour is a cause of social and economic insecurity for local communities causing of tension and violence.
  • Siliguri corridor with its porous borders along Bangladesh & Nepal has become a major conduit for ISI subversive activities. Mushrooming of madrasas along Indo–Nepal and Indo – Bangladesh borders is planned by ISI with help of radical elements in Bangladesh for subversive activities in Northeast.
  • Some pockets have become breeding ground for mafia, smugglers, gun running, hawala transactions. narco-trafficking, influx of fake Indian currency and terrorist activities.
  • Bangladesh has become a nodal point for transhipments of arms & ammunition acquired by Northeast insurgents from Southeast Asia.
  • ISI (Pakistan) is helping for storage and trans shipments through fundamentalist organizations like JEI of Bangladesh, Madrasas and NGOs under its patronage. Some elements amongst Bangladesh authorities are suspected to be conniving with the ISI.
  • BSF is the border guarding force along the border.

Challenges in Border Management

  • Porous nature of Border: Wide inter-BOP gap in the face of dense population residing near the boundary, allows free movement of nationals including criminals, of both the countries.
  • Difficulty in Identifying Bangladeshi Nationals: Indians of the bordering states and Bangladeshis look alike, speak the same language (Bengali and/or Assamese), wear the same dress and have similar set of cultures and traditions, thus making it difficult to identify a Bangladeshi national.
  • Passive/Indifferent Attitude of Border Population: All border crimes take place in an organised manner. The population residing in the border areas is either dependent on the kingpins or are scared to speak against such criminals.
  • Over-population in border areas: Density of population in border areas at some places is approximately 700-800 persons per sq. km on Indian side and about 1,000 persons on Bangladesh side.
  • Cutting of barbed wire by smugglers: Smugglers have invented a very ingenious way of dealing with the security forces who try to obstruct their activity – by cutting the barbed wire.
  • Circuitous International Boundary: Non-linear pattern. Passes through villages, fields, houses, rivers, and jungles in an uneven manner and at places forms big loops.
  • Topography: Entire stretch of border can be broadly categorised as – flat/plain (in West Bengal, Assam-Barak Valley, Tripura), riverine in West Bengal and Assam, hilly/jungle (in Meghalaya).
  • Firing Across Border: Though not as intense as on Indo-Pakistan border (J&K), both Indian and Bangladeshi troops resort to firing across the International Border at the slightest provocation, causing tension and problem of management.
  • Illegal cattle trade is another challenge.

Steps taken by Government

  • A proposal for construction of 422 Composite BOPs along Indo-Pakistan Border and Indo-Bangladesh Border has already been approved by GoI. Out of 422 Composite BOPs, 326 Composite BOPs are to be constructed along the Indo-Bangladesh Border.
  • To curb the infiltration, smuggling and other anti-national activities from across the Indo-Bangladesh Border, the Government of India has undertaken the construction of fencing along this border.
  • The Government of India has taken an initiative to cover the area where physical fence is not feasible with non-physical barriers in the form of Comprehensive Integrated Border Management System (CIBMS). CIBMS includes integration of manpower, sensors, networks, intelligence and Command & Control Solutions to improve situational awareness at different levels of the hierarchy to facilitate prompt and informed decision making and quick response.
  • To have better communication and operational mobility of BSF in border areas, border roads have been constructed.
  • The Government of India has decided to undertake the work of installation of floodlights along Indo-Bangladesh Border.

Way Forward

  • The problem of border management on this border is not just one of securing the borders but of doing so without causing harm to the economic interest of the people, long dependent on mutual trade and various other forms of interdependence.
  • It would be in the interest of both the nations to streamline and institutionalise the movement of people by issuing work permits and identity cards to migrants.
  • To check inflow of illegal migrants, armed intruders, and illegal trade, particularly cattle smuggling, trafficking of women and children, the completion of fencing should be expedited.
  • BSF should inculcate a sense of security amongst the border population. This can help in filling the gap in intelligence gathering in these areas.
  • The morale and motivation of those guarding the borders must be ensured in terms of welfare, incentives, and promotions.
Online Counselling
Table of Contents
Today's Current Affairs
This is default text for notification bar