Thursday, July 30, 2009

India's behavior on its border with Bangladesh

Not good. Via Christopher Albon.


hank_F_M said...



My guess is the real reason for the fence is that India would rather have the international community provide the aid to feed Bangladesh’s population that have them immigrate and the Indian taxpayer have to it.

I think that video, despite highlighting a real problen has a good bit of propaganda in it. Did you notice the family that walked three days to get to the border and their “go to mosque” best which were still cleaned and pressed.

The video talks about hundreds killed. The link he provides (to a Indian Border security page) reports persons killed for all BSF guarded borders as less than 50 each for the past several years and has declined markedly from the early 90‘s . The Wikipedia page on the BSF quotes an BSF official as admitting a larger number for all borders but still less than a hundred.

On the other hand the BSF has a pretty bad human rights record. Global Security attributes most of the human rights problems by Indian Security forces in Kashmir to the BSF. Apparenly the BSF is having staffing problems. It is only getting 80% of the annual required officer intake and like all the Indian Armed Forces I having trouble competing on salary with the private sector for new officers.

Despite the bias of the video a fence should help the problem by making clear lines of go/nogo and shoot/don’t shoot. And I suspect the Bangladesh Rifles like it since it makes their job easier, but I doubt they will admit it publicly.

LFC said...

Thanks for your input and the links.
Here is my off-the-cuff take on this:
1) The video may be somewhat slanted (I didn't notice in particular the family you mention but I may watch it again) but it seemed reasonably balanced taking into account that the BSF declined to be interviewed (a retired officer talks instead).
2) I question whether India and Bangladesh really need the very large paramilitary border-patrol forces they both have (about 70,000 in the Bangladesh Rifles and, acc. to wikipedia, 215,000 in the Indian BSF).
3) This is the main point: Whatever the precise motives for the fence, I find it troubling that India would undertake this kind of West-Bank-style double barbed wire barrier along the entire length of its 2000-mile border with Bangladesh and would proceed it to enforce it partly by having the BSF shoot unarmed civilians when they stray, sometimes unwittingly, into areas deemed out-of-bounds. In some places the India-Bangladesh border runs through the middle of a given village, while in others it is defined by e.g. a narrow alley, at least if the video is right on that point. Building this kind of barrier along
this kind of border, regardless of the reasons, seems difficult to justify. I'm sure India has legitimate border-security concerns but there must be ways to address them that are more nuanced and discriminating, more mindful of the links that no doubt exist between families and communities on both sides of the border, and generally less like dropping a multi-kiloton nuclear device in a situation that calls for something more precise. (I would make a similar criticism of the barrier in progress along the U.S.-Mexico border, although only a small part of it, as far as I know, has so far been built.)