'India committed to protecting borders with Bangladesh'

Prothom Alo English Desk | Update:

Indian minister of home affairs Rajnath Singh speaks during a press conference after attending a meeting of chief ministers on the Indo-Bangladesh border states to discuss security issues, in Kolkata on 7 December, 2017. Photo: AFPIndia's home minister Rajnath Singh said on Wednesday his government is committed to securing the country's borders with all neighbouring countries, reports PTI.

Singh will chair a meeting of chief ministers of states bordering Bangladesh in Kolkata on Thursday.

"The centre is committed to securing India's border with all neighbouring countries," he said before leaving for Kolkata, according to the news agency PTI.

The meeting, called by the Indian home minister, would discuss the influx of Rohingya and Bangladeshi immigrants, and explore ways to check it, an Indian home ministry official said.

Chief ministers of West Bengal, Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura and Mizoram are expected to attend the meeting.

India shares a 4,096 km-long border with Bangladesh of which 2,217 km falls in West Bengal, 262 km in Assam, 443 km in Meghalaya, 856 km in Tripura and 180 km in Mizoram.

This would be the fourth meeting of the chief ministers of states, which share international borders, called by the Indian home minister.

Three separate meetings of chief ministers of states sharing borders with Pakistan, China and Myanmar, were held earlier.

The meeting in Kolkata is also expected to chalk out plans on how to check cross-border smuggling of fake Indian currency notes, narcotics and other illegal activities, the official said.

According to an official estimate of India, around 36,000 Rohingyas are currently living in various parts of India.

Director general of India's BSF KK Sharma had said last week his troops apprehended 87 Rohingya Muslims along the Indo-Bangla border since the beginning of the current year till 31 October, of whom 76 were sent back to Bangladesh.

Nearly 9-10 lakh Rohingya Muslims are estimated to have migrated to Bangladesh from Myanmar due to alleged persecution by the Myanmar military and the possibility of a spillover into India cannot be ruled out, he had said.

Illegal immigration from Bangladesh has also been a major cause of concern for the north-eastern states and West Bengal for many years now, another home ministry official of India said.

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