Issues such as killing, injuring or open firing on unarmed Bangladeshi citizens will take precedence at the six-day director general (DG) level conference between Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) and Indian Border Security Force (BSF) beginning in Dhaka on Sunday.
BGB Director General Major General M Shafeenul Islam and his newly appointed counterpart, BSF’s Rakesh Asthana, will lead their two sides at the conference at BGB’s Pilkhana headquarters in Dhaka.
The talks will continue till September 18.
DG-level talks between BGB, formerly BDR, and BSF were first held in 1975. Since then such talks have generally been held twice a year, once in Dhaka and once in Delhi over the issue of a management of the 4,096-km long frontier between India and Bangladesh.
The annual conference to discuss bilateral and security related issues is taking place at a time when Bangladesh continues to see a rise in border killings with India’s border forces still shooting Bangladeshis along the border areas.
The killings have continued even after Delhi’s assurance of bringing down border deaths to zero and BSF’s promise not to use lethal weapons in the border regions.
In the first 11 days of September, three Bangladeshi nationals were killed in separate incidents at Chapainawabganj, Thakurgaon and Kurigram.
In the first eight months of this year, altogether 35 people were killed in border violence along the Indo-Bangla border. Of the casualties, 29 people were shot dead while five deaths resulted from physical torture, as data compiled by Ain O Salish Kendra show.
The number of people killed this year is 150% higher than what it was in 2019.
Earlier in mid August, Bangladesh Foreign Secretary Masud Bin Momen and his Indian counterpart Harsh Vardhan Shringla met in Dhaka. The two foreign secretaries focused on the need for border killings to be reduced.
Alongside the border killing, cross border smuggling, particularly drug smuggling, construction of different structures like barbed wire fencing and other installations are the other issues to be discussed at the meeting, BGB’s Operations Director Lieutenant Colonel Fayzur Rahman told BSS.