The government of Bangladesh is deeply concerned over the surge in illegal drug activities along the border regions due to the alarming rise in drug addiction, detrimentally impacting both national security and public health. Bangladesh is grappling with the severe threat posed by trans-border crimes, which are undermining security and law and order within and across the nation.
A conference between the Border Guards of Bangladesh (BGB) and India’s Border Security Force (BSF) took place from September 11th to September 14th in Chattogram. The conference concluded with the formal signing of the Joint Record of Discussion (JRD) document.
MD Shazedur Rahman, additional director general of the South-East Region BGB, took charge of the Bangladeshi delegation. Conversely, Pradip Kumar, IPS, inspector general of BSF Frontier Meghalaya, led the six-member Indian delegation.
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Due to its geographical, geo-strategic, and geo-economic positioning, the border between Bangladesh and India holds strategic importance. In recent times, this area has witnessed a range of crimes, including drug trafficking, terrorism, unlawful border crossings, and environmental degradation.
Additionally, the agenda also included discussions pertaining to building confidence among the local populace on either side, with a strong emphasis on promoting cooperation and fostering mutual understanding between the troops of both border guarding forces.
Harnessing Transborder Crimes are of maximum significance
Transnational threats are major security threats for the 21st century. Addressing transnational threats poses significant challenges due to their resistance to deterrence, detection, and control. National borders offer limited defense and can inadvertently aid adversaries. In situations where ties to international identity are weak or nonexistent, determining attribution following an attack can be a daunting endeavor, potentially rendering retribution unattainable.
Illegal Trafficking of Firearms
Bangladesh is increasingly being exploited as a corridor by international militant and insurgent organizations engaged in smuggling weapons. Intelligence reports indicate that illegal small arms trafficking poses a substantial problem for the nation, particularly in its Northern, Southern, and Southeastern regions. Notably, areas such as Chittagong, Khagrachhari, Bandarban, Sandwip, Haluaghat, and the emerging islands are prime routes for the transportation of illegal firearms.
Cross-border Networks in Bangladesh
Smugglers are active along the India-Bangladesh border, and local Bangladeshi gun-runners maintain strong connections with their Indian counterparts. The illegal firearms being transported through Bangladesh are mainly sourced from China, the USA, the Czech Republic, and India. Sources indicate that the demand for Indian-made firearms is particularly high due to their affordability and widespread availability.
The issue of drug trafficking, involving substances such as Heroin, Hashish, Ppium, Phensedyl, and Pethidine, as well as psychotropic medications like methamphetamines and precursor chemicals like acetic anhydride presents a significant challenge to the country. The availability of convenient international air and sea connections, coupled with limited detection and interception capabilities, has fueled extensive drug trafficking operations within the country. India serves as the primary supplier of codeine-laden tablets and codeine-based cough syrup (known as Phensedyl) smuggled into Bangladesh.
Terrorism and Religious Militancy
Bangladesh faced significant challenges with terrorism and religious militancy, causing substantial harm to the nation’s moderate reputation. The rise of terrorism and religious militancy has been a pressing issue for Bangladesh, tarnishing the country’s image and posing threats to its people, economy, political stability, and religious diversity.
Joint Solutions and Cooperation
During the conference, leaders from both delegations collaboratively devised workable solutions to address several bilateral challenges faced by both forces. Their shared objective was to establish a climate of peace and harmony along the international boundary, while also strengthening the foundation of friendship, mutual trust, and cooperation.
Pradip Kumar, IPS, Inspector General of BSF Meghalaya Frontier, conveyed his warm appreciation to the Bangladesh delegation for their dedication to organizing a conference that led to fruitful discussions. MD Shazedur Rahman, the leader of the BGB delegation and Additional Director General of the South-East Region BGB in Chattogram, emphasized Border Guards Bangladesh’s unwavering dedication to upholding peace and harmony along the International Boundary. Furthermore, he emphasized their dedication to strengthening the already robust and friendly relations between the two elite border guarding forces.
They reached an accord to jointly address trans-border crime through the adoption of extra preventive measures, including the escalation of coordinated patrols, heightened vigilance, and sincere commitments. In addition to their agreement, both parties have pledged to work together to reduce incidents of assault and border crime. This entails an escalated public awareness campaign, the implementation of appropriate socio-economic development schemes in vulnerable areas, the dissemination of knowledge among border inhabitants regarding the sanctity of the International Border (IB), and the prevention of any unauthorized border crossings.
Both the BSF and the Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) have resolved to exercise utmost caution and unwavering commitment to combat smuggling. They intend to achieve this by sharing real-time information and implementing proactive anti-smuggling measures.
India and Bangladesh share a deep-rooted civilizational heritage and an array of factors that span nearly every aspect of neighborly engagement. Both countries’ Border Guarding Forces have worked diligently to establish strong mechanisms for border cooperation and management. However, the challenge of countering transnational security threats persists due to the absence of an all-encompassing regime. To tackle this, countries must unite to eliminate the existing legal shortcomings and enact more effective laws.