Pakistan, Bangladesh Terrorists Plan Joint Attacks, India Says
By Paul Tighe
Dec. 7 (Bloomberg) -- Terrorists from Pakistan and Bangladesh are collaborating to carry out attacks in India and using the Bangladeshi border as a crossing point, the head of India's frontier security force said.
``A strong nexus has emerged'' between Pakistani-based groups and those in Bangladesh, A.K. Mitra, director-general of the Border Security Force, said yesterday, India's state-run broadcaster Doordarshan reported. ``We have authentic reports that militants are using Bangladeshi territory for entering India clandestinely through porous borders.''
Pakistani terrorist groups such as Lashkar-e-Toiba and Jaish-e-Mohammad are working with Bangladesh's Harkat-ul Jihad al Islami, Mitra said. In the past six months, police arrested 14 members of the two Pakistani groups as they tried to enter Indian territory, he said.
Indian media linked bomb blasts that killed at least 40 people in the southern city of Hyderabad in August to Bangladeshi nationals or militant groups. Bangladesh responded by saying the Indian charges were ``disturbing'' and pledged its commitment to fight terrorism.
India handed Bangladesh a list of 141 militants and criminals it wants detained when security officials held five days of talks in Bangladesh's capital, Dhaka, last month. The meeting discussed India's call for extending security fences along the 4,095-kilometer (2,545-mile) border, the BSF said at the time.
The Indian-Bangladesh border has 2,979 kilometers of land and 1,116 kilometers of river frontiers, Doordarshan reported.
The BSF has been able to fence only 66 percent of the land border and only 277 kilometers has floodlights, the broadcaster said. India's Tripura state has 13 border posts patrolled by aircraft along its 857-kilometer border with eastern Bangladesh.
A total of 6,617 Bangladesh nationals were caught crossing the frontier in the first 10 months of this year, Mitra said, according to Doordarshan. The BSF detained 9,679 people in 2006.
India's western border with Pakistan is ``relatively alright,'' Mitra said, according to Doordarshan. He was speaking during a visit to Agartala, the capital of Tripura, yesterday.
Militant groups in northeast India, such as the United Liberation Front of Assam and the National Democratic Front of Bodoland, are operating out of Bangladesh, the Indian government has said in the past. Anti-Indian insurgents use more than 140 camps in Bangladesh, Mitra said.
These groups have developed links with Pakistan's Inter- Service Intelligence, Doordarshan cited Sriprakash Jaiswal, the minister of state for home affairs, as telling lawmakers yesterday in New Delhi. Pakistan rejects Indian charges that it supports groups fighting Indian rule in Jammu and Kashmir.
India and Pakistan established an anti-terrorism panel as part of their talks on improving relations that began in 2003.
India is today hosting a meeting in New Delhi of foreign ministers of the eight-nation South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation, known as Saarc, to discuss anti-terrorism measures. The group includes India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, Bhutan, the Maldives and Nepal.
Saarc nations agreed in October to boost their fight against terrorism by preventing funding to extremist groups and improving police cooperation, including India helping Sri Lanka tackle the insurgency by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam.
To contact the reporter on this story:
Paul Tighe in Sydney at firstname.lastname@example.org