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Fencing on Bangladesh-Myanmar border

Discussion in 'Bangladesh Defence Forum' started by MBI Munshi, May 7, 2009.

  1. MBI Munshi

    MBI Munshi PDF THINK TANK: ANALYST

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    Fencing on Bangladesh-Myanmar border: Disputes need to be resolved through win-win formula

    RECENTLY, some problems cropped up between two neighbourly countries - Bangladesh and Myanmar regarding barbed wire fencing which was being constructed by the Myanmar authorities on about 40-mile long border - connecting two neighbourly friends on which the Bangladesh authorities expressed reservations. Newspaper reports state that Bangladesh Foreign Ministry summoned the Myanmar ambassador in Dhaka Mr. Phae Thann Oo on March 31, 2009 for a detailed explanation on the issue. After meeting Mr. Hassan Mahmud, Bangladesh State Minister for Foreign Affairs, the Myanmar Ambassador told the press that "it is not a defence structure, and it is to prevent narcotics and human trafficking". The ambassador further said the fencing is for mutual benefit of the two close-door countries.

    Against this backdrop, one Bangladesh Foreign Ministry spokesman said Myanmar has been constructing the fence after informing Bangladesh through diplomatic channel. He found nothing wrong in it and said: "Construction of the barbed wire fence will not affect relations between the two nations", as published in an English daily newspaper of Dhaka. The Bangladesh state minister for foreign ministry declined to comment on the above as reported in the same newspaper.

    Meanwhile, similar reports published in different daily newspapers of Dhaka regarding fencing/embankment on the Myanmar-Bangladesh border, on April 24,2009 which stated that the battalion-level flag meeting in Myanmar territory between border force BDR and Nasaka ended the day before without any understanding to resolve the dispute over construction of embankment within 50 yards of the zero line.

    Nasaka told the meeting that they would continue to build the dam, saying that the construction at the Myanmar border of Naaf river is going on the basis of the agreement of the two foreign ministries in 1998, BDR sources said.

    Now we will try to draw attention relating to other close countries bordering Myanmar -- so that the readers may get clearer idea about the mutual border areas vis-à-vis cropped-up border problems at times on small issues - which should not have been difficult to resolve, if bilateral sincerity exists on the basis of close, sincere and timely discussions, negotiations and regular follow-up actions at higher levels. The total border of Myanmar with China is 2185 km, with Thailand 1800 km, with India 1463 km, and with Bangladesh 193 km.

    From the above statistics it appear that Bangladesh has the shortest border with Myanmar and against that factual context, Bangladesh should have least problems with neighbour Myanmar - particularly relating to border issues and related matters. Unfortunately, this did not happen between Bangladesh and Myanmar. The concerned knowledgeable sources claim that for developing bilateral relationships with Myanmar which are mainly economic in nature neighbour India's initiatives are at least 20 times more than that of the Bangladesh side. It may be mentioned here that the 160-kilometre Indo-Myanmar Friendship Road already connected the North Eastern states of India with central Myanmar in 2001. We have not yet successfully completed "Left-Right, Right-Left" exercise to start the 27-kilometre road (Bangladesh-Myanmar) proposed to be constructed with total funding arrangements from the Bangladesh side.

    Nasaka also warned Bangladesh of "not making excesses regarding construction of the embankment," said a source. The meeting was held at Dhekhibonia Nasaka outpost in Mondou at noon of the day under mention. Cox's Bazar 17 Rifles Battalion Commander Lt Col Sakhawat Hossain led the Bangladesh delegation while No. 3 Sector Commander Major U Wang Yi led Nasaka, Myanmar delegation.

    The BDR Commandar said the Bangladesh side proposed to suspend the construction of the dam for 15 days for more talks but Nasaka did not agree.Nasaka informed the BDR delegation that they are constructing the embankment through Mondou municipality but not by their (Myanmar) army. Nasaka said barbed fence wire would also be hung over the embankment.

    In the meanwhile, a news item was published the next day (April 25, 2009) in an English daily under caption "China's help sought for rail link with Myanmar." The report states Bangladesh has sought financial and technical assistance from China to expand the country's railway network up to Gundum of Myanmar and link it up with the Trans-Asian Railway (TAR). Syed Abul Hossain said if the project is implemented, Bangladesh will get first connected to Myanmar which will have to construct a railway tunnel through its hilly areas to get linked with Kunming in China.

    The government has already sent a letter to the Chinese government for assistance in laying about 130-kilometre railway tracks from Dohazari in Chittagong, the communications minister of the People's Republic of Bangladesh stated this while talking to the journalists after he came back from China.

    In this piece of news, as published in the daily under mention, Bangladesh Communication Minister Syed Abul Hossain dealt at length on the matter during his recent China visit when he called on among others, the Chinese President and its Prime Minister, who, as Syed Abul Hossain said, are interested in setting up railway net-work between Kunming city in Yunnan province and Chittagong via Myanmar. The Bangladesh communication minister hoped to receive a positive response from the Chinease government. He also talked about Trans Asian Railway (TAR), a project of UNESCAP -- which will, among others, will link Bangladesh with six East Asian countries: Myanmar, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Malaysia and Singapore as well as Europeuin countries through Turkey, the minister asserted.

    As part of the TAR agreement that Bangladesh signed on November 10,2007, a railway track will be laid from Dohazari(Bangladesh) to Gundum in the Arakan state of Myanmar via Ramu in Cox's Bazar. The TAR project of UNESCAP is aimed at creating an integrated freight railway network across Europe and Asia.

    The communication minister will be waiting for positive initiatives/reply from the Chinease government -- a genuine well-wisher of Bangladesh, in other words, 'a friend in need, a friend indeed' which has the longest border with Myanmar, on the one hand, and involved with various economic/infrastructure related activities like building of dams, urbanisation and building of roads, gas based fertilizer factories, medicinal, and industrial plants, agricultural processing industry etc. in Myanmar, on the other. And in Bangladesh, Chittagong port is a point of attraction for China for its commercial use for easy, short and smooth linkage with Asian, Europian and Middle East countries through sea.

    For the above railway network through Myanmar, Bangladesh must talk to Myanmar urgently in friendly terms at a higher level. The Bangladesh communication minister may/should immediately visit Yangoon to meet his counterpart and other dicision makers there in this regard. Besides, the simple logic and comfortable, decent mechanism will be to discuss, negotiate -- regularly.

    Fencing on Bangladesh-Myanmar border: Disputes need to be resolved through win-win formula
     
  2. white_pawn

    white_pawn FULL MEMBER

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    Bangladesh deploys more border guards as Myanmar erects fence

    Ians March 18th, 2009 DHAKA - Bangladesh has deployed more troopers of its border guards after Myanmar moved men and material for erecting a barbed wire fence along a 200-km border between the two countries.


    The move indicates fresh tension after the stand-off in the Bay of Bengal between the two neighbours in November last year, New Age newspaper said Wednesday.

    Dhaka has made diplomatic moves and has refrained from saying anything provocative.

    Foreign Minister Dipu Moni refused to comment. ‘I do not like to voice any opinion now. We will firm up our stance after considering the situation,’ she told the media Tuesday.

    Foreign Secretary Mohammed Touhid Hossain and Home Secretary Abdus Sobhan Sikder told New Age that they had not received any information about Myanmar’s move to erect a fence along the border.

    Home secretary Abdus Sobhan Sikder said that the Bangladesh Coast Guard and the deputy commissioner of Cox’s Bazar in south-eastern region had told him that a fresh contingent of troops had been mobilised across the Naaf river that forms the international border at some points.

    Myanmar was starting construction of infrastructure for them, not erecting a fence, the official said.

    Myanmar started deploying additional forces and stocking materials to fence the frontier that stretches from Nainkhiongchhari upazila of Bandarban hill district since March 14 without the consent of Bangladesh, which is a violation of a bilateral accord, said an official of BDR’s 15th Battalion that is stationed there.

    The foreign ministry official indicated that Bangladesh has no objection to the barbed-wire fence if it is built solely on Myanmar’s territory, since it would curb smuggling and trespassing.

    However, Bangladesh claims Myamnar is doing so ‘unilaterally’, on no-man’s land.

    Bangladesh has over the years had similar problem with India, its neighbour with which it has a 4,000 km long border.
     
  3. TopCat

    TopCat ELITE MEMBER

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    We need a democratic govt in Myanmar to have a fruitfull and lasting relationship with them. Those military thugs are too unpredictable and crude. With them in power there is a little chance of regional integration.
     
  4. white_pawn

    white_pawn FULL MEMBER

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    Yup thats for sure, military govenment are bit unpredictable, so its better to be alert for any kind of agression from the opposition.:rolleyes:
     
  5. gpit

    gpit SENIOR MEMBER

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    I’d like to argue that people should toss away ideology, instead focusing on improving and enhancing friendship with Myanmar.

    The big picture here is for DB to connect to China via Myanmar. That will benefit BD greatly and it is in BD’s best national interest.

    Why do you care whether Myanmar is democratic or not, as long as it lets you connect to China? After all, China is not that democratic. You can bind them in contract with third party's (China) interest.
     
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  6. TopCat

    TopCat ELITE MEMBER

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    Infact we tried our aaasss off to work with them but nothing is going nowhere. I made that comment out of frustration.
    :tsk:
     
  7. gpit

    gpit SENIOR MEMBER

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    Understood now.

    Perhaps you guys have to lobby the Chinese harder, while keep making friendly gestures to Myanmar top brasses - as this is how dictatorship works. All these are for your best natinoal interest, IMHO.