Bangladesh tough against drugs, human trafficking: Official

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Agartala, Feb 10 (IANS) Bangladesh strongly follows a ‘zero tolerance’ policy against the drug menace, human trafficking and other border crimes, the country’s home secretary Mohammad Mozammel Haque Khan said here on Wednesday.

“Our government policy is ‘zero tolerance’ towards drug menaces, human trafficking and other border crimes. There is some unauthorised trespassing along the India-Bangladesh border, but this is being jointly dealt with by the border guarding forces of the two countries,” Khan told reporters.

“When any kind of security and border-related issues arise, a home secretary level meeting tries to resolve these with mutual cooperation. We (India and Bangladesh) are regularly sharing inputs and information of any happenings, possible threats and act on those taking help from each other.”

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Khan, who was accompanied by diplomats from the Bangladesh High Commission in New Delhi, arrived here on Wednesday morning and left for Dhaka in the afternoon.

He held meetings with officials of the Assistant High Commission of Bangladesh in Agartala, and said he reviewed the process of machine-readable passports and visas there.

He said that before reaching Dhaka, he would visit some border outposts of the Border Guard Bangladesh and other infrastructure along the borders.

To a question, he said border-related incidents have come down sharply last year compared to previous year.

Five Indian states — West Bengal (2,216 km), Tripura (856 km), Meghalaya (443 km), Mizoram (318 km) and Assam (263 km) — share a 4,096-km border with Bangladesh.

“My government has already announced that Bangladeshi soil will not be allowed to be used by any inimical forces against India. India is also following same strategy. We are helping each other to serve mutual interest,” the visiting official said.

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He said the India-Bangladesh relations were currently the “best ever” compared to the past.

The home secretary said there was no existence of the Islamic State terror group in Bangladesh.

“There are some fundamentalist and misguided forces in our country. However, our security forces are efficiently dealing with them.”

Khan, who earlier served in the Bangladesh president and prime minister’s offices, said that as officials in diplomatic missions were overburdened in issuing passports and visas, the Bangladesh government was outsourcing such work.

“I was told that every day on an average, over 100 visas are being issued from the Assistant High Commission of Bangladesh in Agartala to Bangladesh-bound Indians. We want to give more visas to Indians keen to go to Bangladesh. If more and more people from both sides visit India and Bangladesh, the relations would become closer.”

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Bangladesh’s High Commissioner to India Syed Muazzem Ali recently visited the state and met various people, besides Chief Minister Manik Sarkar.

Ali said the Assistant High Commission in Agartala would be elevated to a deputy high commission in the near future.

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