Ques. Critically analyse India-Bangladesh trans-border issues.
The Bangladesh-India border relation is multi-dimensional, and shaped by the dynamics and pattern of internal politics of the two countries.
The border problem is not confined to the issue of demarcation. It also involves issues such as cross-border smuggling, terrorist activities, border fencing, human trafficking, and illegal immigration. Above all, there is the issue of the killing of Bangladeshi people. India’s nation building challenges and internal security are linked with border security and border management.
The major security concerns of India in the context of the Bangladesh border are: -
• Trans-border terrorism and movement of insurgents particularly in the light of the 2008 terrorist attacks on the major cities of India involving one common point of having its base in Bangladesh.
• Illegal migration that has changed the demography of the north-east and is one of the main causes for the rise of rebel groups in that area.
• Emergence of non-state actors like terrorist organisations, religious groups and illegal immigrant groups.
• Nexus between arms and narcotics smugglers as Bangladesh has close proximity to the ‘Golden Triangle’. Most weapons of the rebel groups of north-east India, including AK-47 and AK-56 assault rifles, mortars, 40 mm rocket launchers, pistols, revolvers and grenades are bought from Cox’s Bazar in Bangladesh and come through Bhutan, Myanmar, Thailand and Cambodia via the land and sea route.
• Separatist movement aided and abetted by Bangladeshis.
• Establishment of madrasas particularly in the border areas, that has become the recruiting place for the terrorist outfits.
Security measures call for appropriate force structures and procedures to deal with the entry of illegal immigrants, terrorists and contraband goods. In addition, there is a need to establish closer relation with the border population to protect them from subversive propaganda. It is also important to prevent unauthorised settlements along the borders and initiate special development programmes. Promoting the concept of Village Voluntary Forces (VVF) in the border districts and facilitating legitimate trade between the two countries will aid sound border security and border management. Additionally, information networking, coordination and joint patrolling, and strict criminal investigations against the offender will secure the borders of unlawful activities. Finally endorsing regional cooperation which will include economic collaboration, diplomatic alliances and military-to-military confidence building measures; friendly relations with the neighbouring countries and information sharing can provide a sound border security and border management.