Misuse of Sunderbans’ uninhabited islands taken up at security meet

Kolkata, Dec 11 (IANS) The exploitation of uninhabited islands of the Sundarbans by anti-national elements and the need for comprehensive mapping of the area was discussed at length at a meeting of defence and security agencies here on Friday.

The issue cropped up at the second annual lead intelligence agency conference for stakeholders of West Bengal and Odisha at the headquarters, Coast Guard Region (Northeast). The Indian Coast Guard is the lead intelligence agency for coastal borders and the coordinating agency for coastal security.

With 48 of the 102 islands in the Sundarbans uninhabited, the exploitation of such islands by the anti-national elements was deliberated upon by the agencies which included navy, army, Central Industrial Security Force, Directorate of Revenue Intelligence, besides the Subsidiary Intelligence Bureau, Border Security Force, National Security Guards and Coastal Police.

Comprehensive mapping of Sundarbans and augmentation of Marine Police for an effective surveillance also came up during the talks.

The conference focussed on hammering out the hurdles for forming the formidable Intelligence Network in both the states for integrated seamless flow of information among central and state agencies, a Coast Guard release said.

The vulnerabilities owing to reasons of topography and riverine patches along India-Bangladesh borders was one of the most key agenda of the conference.

The porous nature of the border in the recent past has led to numerous trans-border problems including infiltration, smuggling of arms and contraband goods, and illegal movement into West Bengal.

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