India, Bangladesh to complete border fencing soon

Indian Border Security Force (BSF) personnel patrol with a sniffer dog along a stretch of the India-Bangladesh border ahead of India's Independence Day celebrations in Fulbari village, on the outskirts of the northeastern Indian city of Siliguri, August 12, 2009. Security has been tightened across the nation to ward off any possible militant attacks leading up to India's Independence Day celebrations on August 15. REUTERS/Rupak De Chowdhuri (INDIA MILITARY POLITICS)

With India-Bangladesh improving bilateral ties in recent times, the border fencing between the two countries is expected to be completed at the earliest. Reiterating the government’s commitment to increase security in the border areas, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh on January 21 said a plan has been finalised to soon complete the fencing of India’s border with Bangladesh. The purpose of the fencing is to control infiltration from across the border.

Commending the role of Bangladesh in helping India in controlling fake Indian currency racket and for extraditing criminals who escaped to that country, Mr Singh said.  “We want to control infiltration from Bangladesh completely. I want to assure you that to stop infiltration and secure the Indo-Bangladesh border, we have already finalised a plan of putting up fencing and flood lights.”

Emphasising on improved relations with Bangladesh, Mr Singh said, “You have seen how we have established good relations with Bangladesh through exchange of enclaves. I must say that whether it’s a case of fake currency or cow smuggling or extradition of criminals, Bangladesh is helping us in a lot of ways. It is the credit of India’s foreign policy. ”

Impact on India-Bangladesh relations

Focusing on the minorities of Bangladesh who were coming to India fearing persecution, Mr Singh said they would be given citizenship in future too. “For the last few years, the issue is that those Bangladeshi minorities, who are coming to India, are not being provided with social security here,” he said. In a historic move, India and Bangladesh had signed a territory swap deal on June 6, 2015 that brought the curtains down on their decades-old dispute.

“After taking over as Home Minister, I have taken the step of making valid the entry and stay of such minorities. In future also, we will give them citizenship,” Mr Singh  said.

The formal swapping of enclaves had promised to usher in a new life of hope and dignity for around 51,000 people living in 162 enclaves across both countries. Both countries had exchanged 162 enclaves, with 51 from the Indian side and 111 from the Bangladesh side. It is estimated that there are more than 37,000 people in the Indian   enclaves inside Bangladesh and more than 14,000 people in Bangladeshi enclaves in India. The people in these enclaves have been deprived of education, healthcare, citizenship, electricity. The agreement has promised to give a national identity to thousands of people living in these enclaves.

With improved relations between the two countries, South Asia’s regional integration has gained further momentum. South Asia is among the least integrated regions in the world.

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