Pak thins troops on boundary, relations with BDR better: DG

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New Delhi, Nov 29 (UNI) There has been a considerable slicing of Pakistani troops along the international border since Emergency was imposed in that country earlier this month, said Border Security Force Director General A K Mitra today.

''There has been thinning of troops by Pakistan along the border.

It could be because their Security Forces are under pressure due to fundamentalists and ethnic clashes in North and Western border areas, where they have suffered huge losses too,'' he said, addressing a press conference here.

About Bangladesh, Mr Mitra said there has been a significant improvement in the relations between the BSF and the Bangladesh Rifles (BDR) in the past one year, especially after the border coordination meetings in Delhi and Dhaka.

He said the stalled developmental works at the border have been given the go ahead by both sides.

The BSF chief said numerically infiltration has come down since 2003. Infiltration which was 1373 in 2003 was less than 600 in the intervening years, he added.

He said the force has killed 37 militants and apprehended another 32 during the year (upto November). It has also apprehended 7004 people including smugglers, infiltrators and illegal migrants and seized contraband goods worth Rs 164.92 crores.

However, smuggling of narcotics especially heroin and FICN along with arms and ammunitition particularly from Punjab is showing an upward trend, he admitted.

He said the bumper crop of opium in Afghanistan had added to the availability of heroin which is likely to be pushed into India.

During the past year, approximately 101 kg of heroin was seized from the borders.

The DG said there has been a considerable decline in infiltration in areas where fencing has been completed. ''Out of the 3406 km of fence sanctioned by the Government on the eastern side, 67 per cent has been completed and work is in progress in another nine percent along the Indo-Bangladesh border. A total of 6617 Bangladeshi nationals were apprehended during the first ten months this year compared to 9679 last year, he said.

The wide gaps between the fencing and large stretches of unfenced border further aggravate the task of border management. Moreover, lack of lighting facilities have caused impediments. Only a stretch of 277-km is lighted up in this segment, he said.

On the other hand, fencing on the Punjab border is complete and very much lighted, he pointed out.

UNI

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