Indian high commissioner to Bangladesh Vikram K Doraiswami has reiterated his country’s position regarding the killings along the Bangladesh-India border stating that it is a tragedy but it needs to be defined correctly.

“We repeatedly said border killing is a tragedy and it must stop. But we need to define it correctly,” he said, explaining that the people who get hurt or killed on the border are from both sides.

The high commissioner said nobody wants anyone to get hurt on the border and both sides need to have much stronger efforts to address the complex issue looking at why people are carrying out illegal activities, including human trafficking, and find ways for closer cooperation.

Doraiswami was addressing a dialogue titled “50 Years of Bangladesh-India Partnership: Towards a Journey in the Next 50 Years” as the guest of honour on Wednesday evening.

The Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD) organised the dialogue in collaboration with the Research and Information System for Developing Countries (RIS), India.

The high commissioner laid emphasis on closer cooperation to make the border a core area of prosperity with more border haats (makeshift weekly markets), more cross-border economic activities which would be a huge opportunity to change the situation and solve the problem.

State minister for foreign affairs Md Shahriar Alam spoke at the dialogue as the chief guest which was chaired by Rehman Sobhan.

Kazi Nabil Ahmed, MP, CPD Distinguished Fellows Debapriya Bhattacharya and Mustafizur Rahman, former foreign secretary Shahidul Haque, former Indian high commissioner to Bangladesh Veena Sikri, executive director, SANEM, Bangladesh Selim Raihan, among others, spoke at the dialogue.

CPD executive director Fahmida Khatun moderated the session while director general, RIS, India Sachin Chaturvedi delivered the introductory remarks.

Talking about future cooperation between the two countries, Doraiswami said they have a huge opportunity to look at young people as future drivers of business.

He laid emphasis on the simplification of the payment system and addressing the challenges on the logistic front and highlighted the opportunities through rail-based, land-based and river-based trade.

Bangladesh and India share 4,156 km of border which is the longest land boundary that India shares with any of its neighbours. It is also the fifth largest border in the world.

The high commissioner said this dialogue needs to be taken forward and both sides should find ways and separate the rhetoric from facts.

State minister Shahriar Alam said, prime minister Sheikh Hasina’s uncompromising stand and ‘zero tolerance policy’ against terrorism and extremism have been lauded by the international community, including India.

“Because of our efforts and support, India has been able to maintain peace in the Northeastern part. As a result, the security cooperation and the resultant trust and confidence between the two countries are at the peak,” he said.

The state minister mentioned that implementation of the Coordinated Border Management Plan (CBMP) has brought tangible results in maintaining a more peaceful border over the past several years.