Bangladesh–India border

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The border has created a narrow strip known as "Chicken's neck" that has made the communication and transportation between mainland India and Northeast India inconvenient

Bangladesh and India share a 4,096-kilometer (2,545-mile)-long international border, the fifth-longest land border in the world, including 262 km in Assam, 856 km in Tripura, 18 km in Mizoram, 443 km in Meghalaya, and 2,217 km in West Bengal.[1] The Bangladeshi Divisions of Dhaka, Khulna, Rajshahi, Rangpur, Sylhet and Chittagong are situated along the border. A number of pillars mark the border between the two states. Small demarcated portions of the border are fenced on both sides.[citation needed]

History[edit]

Further information: Radcliffe Line

The border of Bangladesh first came into being when the Bengal Presidency was created by the British. When India became independent from Great Britain in 1947, the country was divided among Muslim and non-Muslim majority areas. Likewise the provinces of Punjab, Bengal and the Sylhet district of Assam were also bifurcated and the border came into being. Muslims were the majority in the western part of India and the eastern part of Bengal province. These two areas formed the new Islamic republic of Pakistan. The eastern part, East Pakistan, became the People's Republic of Bangladesh in the Bangladesh Liberation War of 1971.

Geography[edit]

The border divides the Ganges delta region and the Sundarban mangrove forest. It is crisscrossed by a large number of rivers. The area is mostly flat with slight hilly terrain in Meghalaya, Assam, Tripura and Mizoram sections. The border area is densely populated. The land is extremely fertile and is cultivated right up to the border pillars. Sometimes the border line passes right through villages, even buildings. The area is patrolled by the Indian Border Security Force BSF of India and BGB, formerly known as Bangladesh Rifles or BDR of Bangladesh.

Issues[edit]

BDR (now BGB) Commander checking the dead Bangladeshi soldiers at the Border

The border is used as a route for smuggling livestock, food items, medicines and drugs from India to Bangladesh. Moreover, illegal immigrants from Bangladesh cross the border to India. Because of a large number of illegal immigrants crossing from Bangladesh into India, a controversial shoot-on-sight policy has been enforced by the Indian border patrols.[2][3][4] This policy was initiated with reports of violence between the illegal migrants and Indian soldiers.[5] The border has also witnessed occasional skirmishes between the Indian Border Security Force and the Border Guards Bangladesh, most notably in 2001.

In July 2009, Channel 4 News reported that hundreds of Bangladeshis were killed by the BSF along the Indo-Bangladeshi Barrier. The BSF claims that the barrier's main purpose is to check illegal immigration and to prevent cross-border terrorism.[6] In 2010, Human Rights Watch (HRW) issued an 81-page report which brought up uncountable abuses of the BSF. The report was compiled from the interviews taken from the victims of BSF torments, witnesses, members of the BSF and its Bangladeshi counterpart. The report stated that over 1000 Bangladeshi citizens were killed during the first decade of the 21st century. According to HRW, BSF did not only shoot illegal migrants or smugglers but even innocents who were seen near, sometimes even people working in fields (farmland) near the border. .[7]

BSF has often been accused by Bangladesh government of incursions into Bangladesh territory, and indiscriminate shooting of civilians along the India-Bangladesh borders. This was in retaliation to massive illegal immigration from Bangladesh to India, for which the Indo-Bangladeshi Barrier is underway/[8] In a news conference in August 2008, Indian BSF officials admitted that they killed 59 illegals (34 Bangladeshis, 21 Indians, rest unidentified) who were trying to cross the border during the prior six months.[9] Bangladeshi media accused the BSF of abducting 5 Bangladeshi children, aged between 8 and 15, from the Haripur Upazila in Thakurgaon District of Bangladesh, in 2010. The children were setting fishing nets near the border.[10] In 2010, Human Rights Watch has accused the Border Security Force for the indiscriminate killings. BSF forces badly beaten, physically abused, Raped (later killed and hanged the dead body over the fence) Ms. Felani (a 15 years old Bangladeshi girl) on 7 January 2011.[11]

Many conferences have been held between India and Bangladesh to discuss such issues as smuggling and trespassing, cattle lifting, trafficking of drugs and arms. Colonel Muhammad Shahid Sarwar of Bangladesh Rifles gave Border Security Force a list of miscreants which took place in India, and the BSF side also handed over a similar list to the BDR.

Exclaves[edit]

The border area is dotted with many Indian territory exclaves within Bangladesh, and many Bangladeshi territory (enclave) within India. They result from pre-colonial treaties between the Maharajah of Cooch Behar and the Nawab of Rangpur, and were maintained at the time of partition between India and what was then East Pakistan in 1947. Residents of the exclaves generally live in miserable conditions, lacking access to basic services such as healthcare or electricity. These are not provided by their own government, as they are isolated from it by a strip of foreign land; nor are they provided by the surrounding state. They cannot visit their own country without crossing the international border surrounding the territory (enclave).[12]

In September 2011, the two countries verbally agreed on land swaps and resolve the issue, but till November 2013 nothing were done from both side. The exclaves' population, over 50,000 people, would have a say in the matter, and each person would ultimately be allowed to choose their nationality.[13]

Indo-Bangladeshi barrier[edit]

The border Fence close to the Hili Border station (West-Bangladesh)

The project has run into several delays and there is no clear completion date for the project yet.[14][15][16] The barrier when complete will be patrolled by the Border Security Force. The fence will also be electrified at some stretches.

The BSF claims that the barrier's main purpose is to prevent smuggling of narcotics.[6]

Barbed wire fencing[edit]

India is constructing the Indo-Bangladeshi barrier, a 3,406 kilometres (2,116 mi) fence of barbed wire and concrete just under 3 metres high, to prevent smuggling of narcotics. Out of this, 2529 kilometres of fencing was completed at the cost of INR28.81 billion (US$470 million) by November 2007. The deadline for project completion was set to 2008–09[14] By October 2009, about 2649 kilometres of fencing along with about 3326 kilometres of border roads were completed. The deadline for project completion was revised to March 2010.[15] By March 2011, 2735 kilometres of fencing was completed and the deadline was revised to March 2012.[16]

Assam shares a 263 km of border with Bangladesh out of which 143.9 km is land and 119.1 km is riverine. As of November 2011, 221.56 km of fencing was completed.[17]

Flood lights[edit]

India has completed Flood lights installation for 277 kilometers in the West Bengal sector.[14]

Sometimes between 2001-2006 Bangladesh Border security troops (BDR) clashed with the Indian Border Security Force when the fence were build beyond the no man's land.[18]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Border Management: Dilemma of Guarding the India-Bangladesh Border". IDSA. January 2004. 
  2. ^ http://indianmilitarynews.wordpress.com/2011/10/09/blood-on-the-border-extra-judicial-killings-by-bsf/
  3. ^ Adams, Brad (23 January 2011). "India's shoot-to-kill policy on the Bangladesh border". The Guardian (London). 
  4. ^ http://www.hrw.org/news/2011/07/24/india-new-killings-torture-bangladeshi-border
  5. ^ http://www.dnaindia.com/india/report_bsf-jawan-killed-in-ambush-near-bangladesh-border_1419764
  6. ^ a b [1], Channel 4 News, 24 July 2009
  7. ^ "India/Bangladesh: Indiscriminate Killings, Abuse by Border Officers". Human Rights Watch. Archived from the original on 21 January 2011. Retrieved 21 January 2011. 
  8. ^ Staff Correspondent (24 April 2005). "Border tension flares as BSF kills 2 more". The Daily Star. Retrieved 2007-04-19. 
  9. ^ India says 59 killed over last six months on Bangladesh border, Reuters, 24 August 2008.
  10. ^ "BSF abducts 5 children from border". The Daily Star. 24 July 2010. Archived from the original on 26 July 2010. Retrieved 24 July 2010. 
  11. ^ http://blog.akmnahid.com/countries/bangladesh/bsf-killed-innocent-bangladeshi-girl-117.html
  12. ^ "Stateless misery on India-Bangladesh border", BBC, 5 September 2011
  13. ^ "Bangladesh, India to swap 162 land parcels", AFP, 1 September 2011
  14. ^ a b c "Centre has fenced 3406 km along Indo-Bangladesh border". Thaindian news. 27 November 2007. 
  15. ^ a b "Indo-Bangla border fencing to be completed by March 2010". Zee News. 9 October 2009. Retrieved 6 August 2012. 
  16. ^ a b "Bangla border fence deadline extended". The Assam Tribune. 17 March 2011. Retrieved 6 August 2012. 
  17. ^ "Fencing along India-Bangladesh Border". Ministry of Home Affairs,Govt of India. Retrieved 7 August 2012. 
  18. ^ "India-Bangladesh News from India". India Monitor. Archived from the original on 28 September 2007. Retrieved 2007-07-11. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 26°15′43″N 88°45′06″E / 26.26194°N 88.75167°E / 26.26194; 88.75167