Burma and Bangladesh say they have agreed to work together to prevent illegal immigrants, terrorists and smugglers from crossing their mutual border.
According to Burma’s Ministry of Information, senior representatives of both nations’ border guard forces held a flag meeting at a Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) base on 2 March, following a series of 14 joint border patrols involving the BGB and Burma’s Border Guard Police Force (BGP) throughout February.
In a statement released yesterday, the Ministry of Information said, “These cooperative measures aim to: prevent terrorists from maintaining a presence along the border; and deter illegal migrants and smugglers. We also aim to bolster, in a timely fashion, liaisons and trust between the border guard forces of both countries.”
The move to cooperate comes at a time when tens if not hundreds of thousands of Rohingya refugees in Cox’s Bazaar camps face a dilemma over whether to return to Burma following an exodus last year in the wake of Burmese military “clearance operations”, which many voices in the international community called acts of genocide.
Burma and Bangladesh share a 170-mile border, 130 miles of which are fenced. Citizens and non-citizens from both sides have for years used boats to navigate between the two countries, either by sea or along the narrow Naf River which likewise acts as an international boundary.