India And Bangladesh Strengthen Joint Efforts To Combat Cross-Border Smuggling
The Border Security Force (BSF) of India and the Border Guards Bangladesh (BGB) have started a cooperative project as a crucial step to combat the growing threat of cross-border smuggling. The two forces came to various agreements at the Director General Level Border Coordination Conference held in the nation’s capital to boost their cooperation and put a stop to illegal operations along the Indo-Bangladesh border.
The sharing of interrogation reports of drug traffickers who had been caught was one of the important decisions made at the four-day meeting. The BSF and BGB are working together to share essential intelligence to better understand how smuggling operations operate, identify key participants, and destroy their networks. This action is anticipated to be extremely helpful in preventing cross-border crimes and addressing their underlying causes.
The BSF and BGB chiefs also decided to coordinate simultaneous patrols on each side of the border. Better monitoring, a quicker reaction to emergent crises, and increased coordination between the two teams will all be made possible by this cooperative patrolling operation. The agreement also emphasized how crucial it is to promote a human rights-centric approach by advising field officers to use restraint and refrain from using excessive force while dealing with border offenses.
The BSF and BGB have agreed to cooperate on five distinct border development initiatives in addition to their security-focused partnership. These initiatives include building a Bailey bridge over the Sonai River, establishing a school close to the Bangladesh border, building a protective wall on both sides of the Bugai River, mending a road close to the border fence, and creating a road inside Bangladesh that runs close to the border. These programs seek to build the border regions’ infrastructure and promote socioeconomic growth, which will ultimately help with border management.
A variety of smuggling activities have been made easier by the porous land and river borders between India and Bangladesh, which cover about 4,097.7 km across five eastern states. These weaknesses are exploited by smugglers to carry a variety of illicit products, such as drugs, fish eggs, unusual animals, fake money, and the highly sought-after Phendesyl cough medicine. The BSF made significant seizures between 2020 and 2023, including more than 1.2 million bottles of cough medicine, illustrating the gravity of the smuggling problem.
The BSF has changed its approach to counteract these tactics even though the monsoon season and flooded rivers provide challenges, such as making it simpler for animals to be moved across the border. More boats have been deployed to deter the smuggling of cattle, and ditching has proved effective in border regions as well. There are still concerns because over 200 BSF personnel were hurt in smuggling confrontations between January 2018 and June 2023.
Finally, the joint efforts of the BSF and BGB mark a significant development in the fight against cross-border smuggling and increased border security along the Indo-Bangladesh border. To address the underlying causes of smuggling and enhance regional stability, the two forces are actively coordinating patrols, exchanging interrogation reports, and collaborating on development initiatives. In eliminating illicit activities and fostering stronger bilateral ties between India and Bangladesh, this joint policy ought to be effective.