India to go ahead with border fence

Aug. 8, 2005 at 2:14 PM
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NEW DELHI, Aug. 8 (UPI) -- India said it would go ahead with a plan to fence its border with Bangladesh to help curb smuggling and illegal migrants.

"A strong fence is useful for both sides to achieve their common objective for mutual benefit," Indian Foreign Minister Natwar Singh said Sunday during his official visit to Dhaka.

The visit came amid tense relations between the two neighbors. Their security forces on the border have engaged in skirmishes. India has accused the Bangladesh Rifles of killing Indian security personnel. Dhaka, however, denies its security men crossed into India.

"There were considerable cross-border crimes due to porous nature of border," Singh said, The Hindu newspaper reported Monday.

He said these problems posed a threat to the social and economic well being of both countries. India has seen an influx of illegal migration from Bangladesh who easily blend with the local population and are difficult to detect.

Bangladesh had expressed concern over India's fence, describing it as a defense structure within 150 yards of their border. India disagrees with Dhaka's contention.

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