BY OUR BUREAU
GUWAHATI/KOKRAJHAR, Feb 2: In the backdrop of rise in criminal activities, including kidnapping, along the India–Bhutan border areas, a delegation of the Indian government has urged its Bhutanese counterpart to dismantle the three camps set up by National Democratic Front of Bodoland (Songbijit) in the Himalayan kingdom. Each of the camps set up by NDFB (Songbijit) in Bhutan has reportedly 20 cadres.
The 8th border management and security meet between the two countries was held recently at Thimpu, the Bhutanese capital. AK Mangotra, Secretary of Border Management, Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India led the nine–member Indian delegation while Tshering Dorji, Home Secretary of Bhutan led the Bhutanese delegation in the discussion on border management and security. Assam Home Secretary GD Tripathy was also part of the Indian delegation.
The Bhutanese delegation told the Indian delegation that NDFB has reached an understanding with the Bhutan Communist Socialist Group, a left wing outfit, which could pose a serious threat to the internal security of Bhutan and the Indian government should take care of this new development.
The Indian delegation agreed to the proposal to beef up security along the India–Bhutan border areas as requested by the Bhutanese delegation. Mangotra, in his opening statement, said that small issues were bound to crop up in any relations but care should be taken to deal with these small issues.
On the rise in criminal activities and frequent kidnapping cases, Mangotra said that there were instances of abductions in southern Bhutan by miscreants from both Bhutan and India. The Indian delegation, however, assured the Bhutanese delegation that tough measures would be taken to put a halt to such criminal activities, especially kidnapping.
Both the delegations discussed the use of Bhutanese mobile SIM cards in the border areas of India. The Bhutanese delegation also sought technical support from India to help Bhutan in intercepting phone calls in their country.
In the discussion, both India and Bhutan agreed to erect more entry and exit points along the India–Bhutan border, repair the damaged boundary pillars and re–erect the missing pillars. The issue of providing training to the Bhutanese security personnel was also discussed in the meeting.
The Indian delegation appreciated Bhutan’s assurance to disallow the use of its territory by anti–India forces. Both the nations also agreed to arrange regular meetings by the security forces of the two countries.