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Militants shifting camps out of Bangladesh

Militants shifting camps out of Bangladesh

Author: Sunat K. Chakraborty
Publication: The Pioneer
Date: January 28, 2009.
URL: http://www.dailypioneer.com/152779/Militants-shifting-camps-out-of-Bangladesh.html

Several Northeastern separatist groups dug in Bangladesh are in the process of shifting their camps and hideouts to safer locations either in Myanmar or Bhutan.

The Border Security Force claims to have certain inputs indicating that some of the Indian rebel outfits are considering to relocating their operational bases since they fear that under pressure from India the Bangladesh Government would sooner or later launch a crackdown on them.

The Indian intelligence agencies have received reports that Bangladeshi Rapid Action Battalion and other security forces have started operation against Islamic fundamentalist groups, such as Jamtul-Mujahiddin and Harkat-ul Jihadi Islami (HUJI), which are known to take their commands from Pakistani intelligence network or Pakistan-based terrorist groups.

BSF Inspector General PK Mishra confirmed that all through the fortnight, BSF had been receiving inputs from various channels, including sister intelligence agencies that certain militant groups would try to cross over to India through Assam-Meghalaya sector.

"We have made special deployment all along the Assam-Meghalaya sector of the international border, and reinforced our men at certain sensitive points to foil any attempt of infiltration from Bangladesh," he said.

Mishra maintained that with improved intelligence sharing mechanism among sister agencies and better coordination between BSF and other security agencies in Assam and Meghalaya, it would be possible to contain the cross-border movements of militants and arms.

Besides, he hoped that under the Shiekh Hasina regime, co-operation between the border forces of the two neighbouring countries would deepen. August last year, DG BSF and DG BDR agreed to consider joint patrolling at vulnerable patches on the border. "This is working now," Mishra said.

The BSF is responsible for guarding the 577km India-Bangladesh border in the Assam-Meghalaya sector, of which about 50 km are riverine border falling mainly in Assam.

"It is not an easy border," Mishra, who has assumed new responsibility in New Delhi, told journalists at a parting press briefing here on Tuesday. "Unlike the Western border with Pakistan, the border here is highly porous, with difficult terrain, thick vegetation and riverine stretches," which pose serious challenges to border vigil and management, he pointed out.

He, however, said, despite these adverse factors BSF had been able to not only strengthen its presence all along the border but also dominate the areas by smart deployment of forces and better coordination between the BOPs.

There are certain pockets which require special attention. Apart from the riverine and Char areas, certain corridors in Garo hills, Ratachera (Jaintia Hills) and Mancachar (Dhubri areas in Assam) are highly challenging.

Mishra said that BSF would soon be able to meet these challenges more effectively with the completion of fencing, induction of more border security personnel and weaponry and surveillance apparatus.

BSF is equipped with all the state-of the-art gadgets for effective night domination, which have been installed all along the international border.

Also, the Government of India have already cleared the border flood light proposal and agreed to raise 29 more BSF battalions, a few of which will be deployed in the northeast, he said.

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