India, Bangladesh to hold border talks in Dhaka next week

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New Delhi, Dec 20: India will hold a high-level border dialogue with Bangladesh next week in Dhaka in the backdrop of the recent handing over of top insurgents by the neighbouring country and its efforts to end cattle smuggling across the over 4,000-km frontier the two neighbours share.

A 23-member Indian delegation led by Border Security Force (BSF) Director General D K Pathak will travel to the Bangladeshi capital for the six-day bi-annual DG-level talks with their counterparts -- the Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) and senior officials of their home department.

India and Bangladesh

The meeting is scheduled between December 22-27. Sources said the meeting is being held at a "good time"

when the ties between the two sides are at their best after Bangladesh recently handed over long-time fugitive and top ULFA leader Anup Chetia to India.

The Indian border delegation, including officials from the Union Home Ministry and other border enforcement agencies, is expected to discuss measures to further enhance security along the border and brief the BGB about measures put in place to completely stop instances of cattle smuggling and other illegal substances across the border.

Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh, during BSF's 50th Raising Day on December 1 here, had urged the border guarding force to ensure a total clampdown on cross-border animal smuggling along this 4,096-km-long porous and difficult terrain dotted by hilly and riverine areas.

The BGB, sources said, is expected to raise the issue of bringing about a complete halt on border killing incidents and suggest enforcement of some strict security protocols by both the sides to achieve this goal.

The BGB delegation for the talks, to be held at the paramilitary's headquarters in Dhaka, will be led by its DG Maj Gen Aziz Ahmed.

"A host of other issues related to activities of Indian insurgent groups suspected to be operating from the other side, smuggling of fake Indian currency, drugs and other banned items will be discussed.

Some new measures to enhance operational efficiency between the two sides will also be discussed by the two sides," they said.

BSF and BGB are also expected to firm up plans for holding the first-ever joint exercise between the two sides in the Sunderbans in West Bengal next month, they said.

The last time the two sides met was in August this year when BGB travelled to India for the talks. A joint declaration of discussions will be signed between the two sides on December 26, a day before the Indian delegation will return to the country.

PTI

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