Kolkata, Dec 2 IANS | 8 months ago

The BSF will take four to five years to fully take over its new responsibility of protecting the highly porous India-Myanmar border, a senior officer of the paramilitary force said Monday.


"The central government has already taken the decision that the BSF will guard the India-Myanmar border. We are working out the modalities of a smooth takeover of the border from the Assam Rifles," the Border Security Force's Additional Director General B.D. Sharma told media persons here.

The Assam Rifles, positioned around 70-80 km within the border, presently has the responsibility to man the 1,643 km long India-Myanmar frontier.

Sharma said a minimum of 41 battalions (approximately 41,000 troops) supervised by at least 12 deputy inspector generals and four inspector general rank officers headed by an additional director general would be required for the theatre.

"It is a huge task and we are working on details like manpower, transport, accommodation funds, weaponry etc... it will take close to four to five years before we formally take over the entire theatre," said Sharma. The takeover will be done in a phased manner.

BSF is at present deployed on the frontiers with Pakistan and Bangladesh.

Talking about the India-Bangladesh border, Sharma said since the force adopted use of non-lethal weapons since 2011, the deaths on the frontier has come down.

Till October this year, 15 people including eight Bangladeshis have been killed which is a considerably lower figure compared to the past. In 2009, 91 people including 55 Bangladeshis were killed, while in 2010 the number was 56, which included 32 Bangladeshis.

On the flip side, the force has been sustaining a large number of injuries. Till November this year, 167 BSF troopers were injured and three of its men killed.

The BSF so far in the year has seized over one lakh cattle, fake India currency with face value of nearly Rs.80 lakh, 6,330 kg of ganja (marijuana) and 32 kilos of heroin.

The force has arrested 4,8,79 people at the border this year. It has also adopted a novel approach of sending back women and children who inadvertently cross the border.

"We have often seen that women and children inadvertently cross the border. So after interrogation, if we find that they crossed over unknowingly or even if intentional but without any criminal motive, we ensure that they are sent back to Bangladesh without any delay," said Sharma.

The BSF would be adding three more battalions at the India-Bangladesj border besides increasing the number of floating border outposts at the Sunderbans to nine from the three at present.

(Posted on 02-12-2013)