Bangladesh has once again asked its counterpart India for using "non-lethal" weapons in the Indo-Bangla border to bring down the border killing to zero.
The issue was raised during Home Secretary-level talks between India and Bangladesh yesterday.
Mostafa Kamal Uddin, Senior Secretary of Public Security Division of the home ministry, led the Bangladesh delegation while Ajay Kumar Bhalla, Union Home Secretary, led the Indian delegation.
After the virtual meeting held at a city hotel, Senior Secretary Mostofa Kamal Uddin told reporters that "we have discussed bringing down the border killing to zero. There has a principle to use the non-lethal weapon to avoid causality."
"India assured us of using that type of weapon and their sincere effort to bring down the border killing to zero," he said.
He further said that they have discussed in the meeting to improve the relationship in the future between two countries and India assured to exchange cooperation and support.
Kamal further said that they have thanked the Indian government for their support during the Covid-19 period.
"India provided some vaccine as a gift and we have bought some vaccine," he said.
It should need to be mentioned that India has assured to bring down the border killing into zero in different level meetings with Bangladesh several times earlier.
According to a database of Ain O Salish Kendra, at least 49 Bangladeshi citizens have been killed along the India-Bangladesh border by Indian Border Security Force in 2020.
The rights body said at least 15 people were killed in 2018 while the number rose to 43 in 2019.
In the first month of this year, one Bangladeshi was shot dead by the BSF, the data added.
In the meeting, both Secretaries reiterated their commitment to further expand and strengthen cooperation in the security and border-related issues, according to sources.
An official, who attended the meeting, told The Daily Star that they have informed India that yaba pills are now entering from their country to Bangladesh.
In response to it, India said that they did not produce Yaba. Myanmar produced the pills and they may use India for transit. "But India assured that they will be remain alert," said the official.
India further asked Bangladesh to install a thermal scanner in every flight that goes to the country so that it can be checked very carefully about carrying any lethal weapons, according to sources.
In response to it, Bangladesh said that they have a flight connection with many other countries and thus it is not possible to install the scanner with the flight.
It was the 19th home secretary-level talk between Bangladesh and India. The meeting was scheduled to held on last year but it postponed for Covid-19.
The Indian delegation was supposed to visit Bangladesh but it finally held virtually for the pandemic, according to ministry officials.
Jahangir Alam, additional secretary (political and ICT) of the home ministry, told The Daily Star that India discussed for early completion of fencing along the Indo-Bangla border.
"We informed the Indian delegates that we would look into it," he said.
A high official of the ministry, present in the meeting, said that they also raised the smuggling of Phensedyl into Bangladesh and India responds that they use it as their cough syrup and what can they do if anyone uses it for addiction.
After the meeting, the Indian home ministry also issued a press release that reads that during the meeting,
India and Bangladesh attach the highest importance to their bilateral relations.
Both sides reaffirmed not to allow the territory of either country to be used for any activity inimical to each other's interests. Both sides appreciated the cooperation between the two countries and the action taken to address the menace of terrorism and extremism effectively.
The effective functioning of the Coordinated Border Management Plan to control the illegal cross-border activities was appreciated by both sides.
Both sides agreed to further enhance the level of cooperation to prevent the smuggling of Fake Indian Currency Notes (FICN) and contraband, reads the Indian ministry release.
Bangladesh appreciated the assistance provided by India in the field of training and capacity building for various security agencies, the release added.