'India committed to protecting borders with Bangladesh'

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The government will set up a Border Protection Grid to stop infiltration and illegal activities along the Indo-Bangladesh border, the Hindustan Times reported quoting Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh.

Kolkata: The standoff between the Narendra Modi and Mamata Banerjee governments over force deployment in Darjeeling didn't come in the way of Union home minister Rajnath Singh's meeting with heads of states bordering Bangladesh at Nabanna on Thursday.

"The State Governments have to be extra vigilant against the Rohingyas and other illegal immigrants", he said, flagging the Central Government's priority to check the illegal immigrants from Myanmar through Bangladesh.

The minister "stressed on the need to prevent entry, at global borders, of illegal immigrants some of whom have links with extremist groups for furthering anti-national activities with ulterior motives and posing threat to internal security", said a home ministry press release issued after the meeting.

According to an official estimate of India, around 36,000 Rohingyas are now living in various parts of India.

India shares a vast 4,096 km-long border with Bangladesh out of this as much as 2,217 km falls is adjoining West Bengal, 262 km with Assam, 443 km is with Meghalaya, 856 km and 180 km in Tripura and Mizoram respectively.

"The grid will comprise various elements namely physical barriers, non-physical barriers, surveillance, system, Intelligence agencies, State police, BSF and other State and Central agencies", he said in his opening remarks.

This is the fourth meeting of the Chief Ministers of States, which share global borders, called by the Home Minister.

Earlier, in a meeting with the chief ministers of Indo-Bangla border states, Singh made it very clear that the government would not compromise on border issues.

"Centre is committed to make borders with all neighbouring countries totally foolproof and secure in the days ahead", the home minister told the mediapersons on Wednesday.

Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal sought a new law to check the cross border smuggling, including cattle, and effective steps to end illegal immigration.

He further called upon the states to be cautious so that no form of illegal migration can take place from across the border.

The Bengal government's land policy cropped up as a major hurdle to the Centre's plan at a meeting to fence the borders with Bangladesh.