Friday, October 15, 2004

India: CCS Border Review - Bangladesh "refusing to play ball"

[ While Myanmar has agreed to take action against the militants, Bangladesh is refusing to play ball. The government is now considering taking up the militant issue with Bangladesh at a higher diplomatic level. According to sources the CCS, presided over by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, discussed in particular the role of Bangladesh in providing shelter to terrorist outfits of North-East.With intelligence reports of growing links between militants groups in the Northeast and the Al Qaeda and ISI pouring in, South Block is now working on a strategy to actively engage concerned neighbours like Bhutan and Myanmar in renewed action against these groups. Sources said that during his trip to Thimphu, Singh offered all possible assistance, including military hardware, to enable Bhutan to fight terrorists operating there. India will also reportedly provide additional equipment like helicopter gunships and back-up on its side if Thimpu decides to launch fresh attacks to flush out these militants.]

3 Post

Border watch as CCS sits up

NEW DELHI, Oct. 13. — The Cabinet Committee on Security today took note of the serious problems in the North-east with militants finding shelter in Bangladesh and Myanmar.

While Myanmar has agreed to take action against the militants, Bangladesh is refusing to play ball. The government is now considering taking up the militant issue with Bangladesh at a higher diplomatic level.

Senior leaders from Myanmar had visited India recently. The two countries had taken part in operation “Golden Bird” against militants and help to cut the flow of arms in the North-east via Myanmar. Some of the arms unloaded in Cox’s Bazar in Bangladesh moved into Myanmar and then moved back to India. Senior Army officers are in touch with their Yangon counterparts but regret that the Myanmar army lacks logistics for a thorough campaign against insurgency. Bangladesh is resistant to any discussion about militant camps though top Ulfa leaders are believed to be there.

The government is also working on getting the border fencing completed, especially in the Tripura sector. An additional reason for quick action is pressure from the Left as much of the influx from Bangladesh is into the Marxist-ruled states of Tripura and West Bengal.

Statesman 13/10/2004

2. CCS reviews internal security, fencing on India-Bangladesh border
Rajiv Sharma

The Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) today undertook a comprehensive review of the country’s internal security, particularly the North-East and Jammu and Kashmir.

According to sources the CCS, presided over by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, discussed in particular the role of Bangladesh in providing shelter to terrorist outfits of North-East.

The spurt in terrorist incidents in the North-East since the Gandhi Jayanti Day, came up for detailed discussions. In this context, the ongoing fencing work on the Indo-Bangladesh border was also thoroughly reviewed.

Fencing along the 4096-km-long Indo-Bangladesh border has been going on for almost four years now and despite some teething troubles one-third of fencing has been completed. The project is going on well and the entire work is expected to be completed on schedule by 2006.

The government has already revised the allocation for Indo-Bangladesh border fencing from Rs 1,334 crore last fiscal to Rs 2,876 crore this fiscal year. However, the government is well aware of the fact that fencing is not the solution for all problems.

The Bangladesh factor in North-East insurgency situation was discussed from all possible angles. Though Indo-Bangladesh relations have been taking a down-the-slope trend ever since the Begum Khaleda Zia government came into power, New Delhi continues to stay engaged with Dhaka in meaningful diplomatic discussions.

The annual Indo-Bangla Foreign Office consultations are expected to take place here in November end or beginning of December. “All issues, including Bangladesh support to the terror network in North-East, would come up for discussions at the forthcoming Foreign Office consultations,” a senior official of the Ministry of External Affairs told this correspondent.

Defence Minister Pranab Mukherjee, Home Minister Shivraj Patil and Finance Minister P. Chidambaram were among those who attended today’s CCS meeting.

External Affairs Minister K. Natwar Singh could not attend today’s CCS meeting as he had still not returned from his Bhutan visit at the time of the meeting. Mr Natwar Singh is leaving tomorrow for Vietnam for observing the 50th anniversary of Pandit Jawahar Lal Nehru-Ho Chi Minh meeting.

When asked by The Tribune what India was doing to pressurise Bangladesh diplomatically on New Delhi’s charge of running more than 200 terrorist training camps on Bangladeshi soil, Mr Natwar Singh refused to comment.

“I would not like to say anything on this. This is a sensitive issue. They (Bangladesh) are hosting the next SAARC summit,” Mr Natwar Singh said.

Tribune News Service 14/10/2004


3. NE terror: Govt to actively engage Bhutan, Myanmar
Saurabh Shukla

With intelligence reports of growing links between militants groups in the Northeast and the Al Qaeda and ISI pouring in, South Block is now working on a strategy to actively engage concerned neighbours like Bhutan and Myanmar in renewed action against these groups.

In fact, external affairs minister K. Natwar Singh's trip to Bhutan followed by Myanmar Premier Gen Than Shwe’s state visit next week is an indicator of India's strategy to enable these countries to mount military action against Indian militant groups like the Ulfa, NSCN and KLO which have set up camps in these countries.

Sources said that during his trip to Thimphu, Singh offered all possible assistance, including military hardware, to enable Bhutan to fight terrorists operating there. India will also reportedly provide additional equipment like helicopter gunships and back-up on its side if Thimpu decides to launch fresh attacks to flush out these militants.

According to the sources, an MoU on counter-terrorism between India and Myanmar is on the cards during Gen Than's visit. Apart from this, the two sides will also unveil strategic dialogue at the external affairs ministers level while cooperation on security issues will be on the agenda. New Delhi is also expected to announce a bus service linking Imphal with Myanmar.

Besides providing military hardware, India's strategy also entails a broader package including cooperation in telecom and energy and ass-isting infrastructure projects.

India shares a 1,463-km border with Myanmar and a 605-km border with Bhutan. But it is the 4,053-km border with Bangladesh that poses a bigger security threat.

India hopes that once there is strong action against terror camps in Myanmar and Bhutan, it can effectively combat infiltration through the Indo-Bangla border too.

CCS meeting

The Cabinet Committee on Security met on Wednesday to review the situation in J&K and the Northeast.

Home minister Shivraj Patil gave details of the outcome of home secretary Dhirendra Singh's visit to Dhaka. During his two-day talks with his Bangladeshi counterpart, Singh sought help in curbing the activities of militants camping in Bangladesh. Regarding Kashmir, the CCS discussed the prospects of early resumption of peace talks with the Hurriyat leadership. HTC

Hindustan Times 14/10/2004