Border Security Force (BSF) chief K K Sharma is all set to raise the issue of the Rohingya influx via Bangladesh with the director general of border guard Bangladesh (BGB) Abul Hossain, and ask him to stop the illegal migrants from entering India.
The two officers will meet in New Delhi in the first week of October as part of the biannual DG-level talks.
India’s apprehensions about more Rohingya attempting to cross over to West Bengal or the north-eastern states will be conveyed at the meeting. Speaking to TOI on the sidelines of a seminar to discuss smart border management, organised by FICCI and India Foundation, Sharma said, “Yes, we will touch upon the Rohingya issue with BGB. Let’s see how they respond.”
It has been reported by intelligence agencies that most of the 40,000 Rohingya in India have crossed over since 2012-13 through the 4,096-km Indo-Bangladesh border. The border provides an easy route for criminals, illegal migrants, fake-currency/arms/drugs/cattle smugglers due to its porous nature and tough terrain. Around 3 lakh Rohingya refugees are said to be living in Bangladesh, and the Indian government, forces and intelligence agencies fear more will try to infiltrate into India. The BSF often arrests or shoots people entering India illegally after warning them, but there are many jungles, riverine sections on the Indo-Bangladesh border that are difficult to man round the clock, officials say.
Director general of Assam Rifles Lt General Shokin Chauhan, responsible for guarding the 1,643-km border with Myanmar, told TOI that the Rohingya were “not coming through the Indo-Myanmar border at all”. Speaking at the function, Chauhan asserted that “it is impossible to fence the Indo-Myanmar border”, a centre of insurgency for several decades. He said the people of the Northeast, who shared history, traditions and culture with people across the border, will not allow fencing of the border. “Because of this, there is a huge insurgency problem,” he said.
He claimed there was a new phenomenon that involved Myanmar-based insurgents, operating from bases where the army didn’t come, “infiltrating into India, attacking and exfiltrating”. Chauhan also cited problems like no road infrastructure, zero presence of administration, and thick jungles.