BSF-BGB joint exercise may become regular affair: Officials

Junction (India-Bangladesh border), March 13 (IANS) Aimed at creating deterrence against cross-border smuggling and to enhance coordination between the two border guarding forces, the BSF-BGB joint exercise may become a regular affair, top officials said here on Sunday.

The first such joint exercise between the Border Security Force (BSF) and Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) got underway in the Sundarbans on Saturday.

On the second day of the three-day drill “Sundarbans Maitri” on Sunday, troopers from both the forces, including dog and bomb squads, conducted joint searches of cargo vessels on the Ichchamati river.

The drill was supervised by BSF Inspector General South Bengal frontier Sandeep Salunkhe and BGB region commander Colonel Khandekar Farid Hassan onboard floating border outpost Kamakhya.

Congratulating both forces for the successful conduct of the drill, Salunkhe and Hasan said the exercise might be a regular affair in future.

“It is one of its kind exercise which is being held between the two border guarding forces of India and Bangladesh for the first time. But I am sure, there will be many more such exercises which will further improve the BSF-BGB coordination,” said Salunkhe.

Echoing similar sentiments, Hassan said: “The joint exercise can be a big deterrent for smugglers and criminals. They will have to deal with the combined efforts of both the forces. This exercise will not only enhance the already cordial relations of the two forces but will also help in increasing confidence of the people residing near the border.”

While the BGB and BSF undertake coordinated patrolling on the land border, Salunkhe said the joint exercise on the riverine stretch will further curtail cross-border smuggling.

“Both the forces follow a Coordinated Border Management Plan aiming to prevent cross-border criminal activities and irregular movements with this exercise we will be able to curtail these criminal activities further,” he said.

Both BSF and BGB officers asserted smuggling of cattle has come down by nearly 60-70 percent in recent times.

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