Border Security Force (BSF) to Address Violent Attacks at Meeting with Border Guards Bangladesh

New Delhi, India- Indian officials are gearing up to address the issue of violent attacks against Border Security Force (BSF) personnel along the eastern border during a forthcoming meeting with Border Guards Bangladesh (BGB) in Dhaka. Scheduled for next week, the talks will also touch upon incidents of breaches of the fence, illegal entry of Bangladesh nationals, and the smuggling of arms, narcotics, and gold.

Representing India at the bi-annual Director General (DG) talks will be BSF DG Nitin Agarwal. According to data reported, the number of BSF personnel injured by criminals since 2018 stands at 204 along the Bangladesh border. The criminals, aided by Indian accomplices, utilize firearms, country-made bombs, sharp-edged weapons, and other means to attack personnel. Notably, in 2023 alone, 40 BSF personnel were injured.

India implemented a non-lethal weapon policy in 2011 following a tragic incident where a 15-year-old girl from Bangladesh was fatally shot by BSF forces along the Cooch Behar border in West Bengal. The policy change came after widespread public outcry in Bangladesh over the incident. Despite facing violent attacks from cattle smugglers along the border, BSF officials have adhered to the non-lethal weapon policy, leading to a higher proportion of non-lethal weapons used compared to regular weapons during firing incidents.

The Joint Indo-Bangladesh Guidelines for Border Authorities, established in 1975, mandates that border guarding forces on both sides prevent armed civilians from entering up to 150 yards on either side of the border. Recent data reveals a concerning uptick in incidents of breach of the fence, totaling 262 since the last round of talks in May 2023. Additionally, while cattle seizures have decreased along the Bangladesh border, there has been a rise in undocumented individuals attempting to enter or leave India.

The presence of the insurgent group National Liberation Front of Tripura (NLFT) operating from Bangladesh is another pressing issue that India plans to address during the upcoming talks. Since June 2022, the BSF has handed over 535 undocumented migrants, including 75 children, to the BGB as a goodwill gesture. The talks are crucial for both countries to address security concerns and enhance cooperation along the border.