Bangladeshi military retaliation?

Instead of tiresome rallies, India should serve the aces that it is capable of

Enraged by statistics that show the Indian Border Security Force (BSF) kills one Bangladeshi every five days, Wamy, a Bangladeshi blogger affiliated to the Jamaat-e-Islami party, recommends that the Bangladeshi government deliver an ultimatum on India: stop the killings or face retaliation. It is tempting to say, “yeah, right!”.

Yeah, right!

But a Bangladeshi retaliation is not entirely in the realm of fantasy. For a few days in April 2001, a ‘war-like situation‘ prevailed in the region along the border between Bangladesh and the Indian state of Meghalaya. Before the tension was defused, several Indian soldiers were killed, some of whom were found to have died ‘brutal, non-combat deaths’ that were attributed to civilian mob violence. Compared to what passes off as a normal day along India’s border with Pakistan, the skirmish with Bangladeshi troops was a bar-room brawl. Yet it showed that Bangladeshi troops were sufficiently emboldened to provoke (or retaliate against) Indian forces.

The April 2001 armed conflict clearly points towards inadequate force projection on the part of India, when deterrance failed. Shooting incidents and skirmishes are still common, along with ‘push-back’, where the BSF is accused of forcing illegal immigrants/Muslim Indian citizens into Bangladeshi territory. The construction of a border-fence may have helped check the volume of illegal immigration, but has not eliminated the exchange of fire between the two countries. That would require stronger force projection — exemplary punitive action against Bangladeshi security forces or armed groups with hostile intentions. Ironically, India’s unwillingness to project its military power ends up failing to prevent the outbreak of hostilities.

Civilian deaths are a matter of serious concern. But it would be out of place to blame this entirely on India. For its part, the Bangladeshi government must prevent its citizens from straying close to (or across the border with India). Provocative acts by its security forces too contribute to the general climate of hostility in which civilians end up as the net losers. Indeed, if Bangladesh is serious about protecting the lives of its citizens, it should be an enthusiastic supporter of border-fencing. Bangladesh, especially under the Khaleda Zia government, has shown no serious commitment to do its part to prevent civilian deaths, apart from using them to fuel anti-India sentiments.

India too cannot escape responsibility for civilian deaths along the border. There are three inter-related methods to avoid these — increase force projection and impose an ‘Indian peace’; strengthen border fencing; and promote better coordination and cooperation with Bangladeshi forces.

Update: Wamy has clarified that he is not affiliated to the Jamaat-e-Islami party, and those were his personal views.

16 thoughts on “Bangladeshi military retaliation?”

  1. We must do everything possible to maintain peace on the border with Bangladesh, but if push comes to shove and action must be taken, then do as the Americans say: “If you have to lick them, lick them hard, so that you dont have to lick them again”.

  2. The subject is actualy some peoples’ fatasy element and not at all logical. But it is true that these types of remarks by Bangladeshis and Indias ignoring the facts of the civilian killings will in fact ignite more fantasies and augment bitter relations.

    I also support border fencing and the controversy is not with the fencing itself but the positioning of the fence. As the fencing is done solely by India, ideally it should be within its territory, not in no-mans land. But most of the fencing are being done along the disputed area ignoring international norms which have sparked the dissent of Bangladesh. Would India have tolerated this encroachment if Bangladesh built fences in the no-mans land?

    Suren: An mutual orgy is satisfactory when both get the pleasure. When the thoughts and actions are to satisfy the self only then its called a rape.

    Mutual respect and consideration would be sane people’s thinking.

  3. Sir, let me tell you that I am not affiliated with Jamaat-e-Islami Bangladesh at any level. My support for their various programs should not be considered as “affiliation”. Also, my opinions do not reflect those of Jamaat’s, and I do not endorse each and everything Jamaat says or does.

  4. Rezwan,

    I realize now that my earlier statement sounds hawkish. I apologize. I wish to clarify that I do not advocate war, my earlier statements notwithstanding.

    Rezwan, there is a large section of public opinion in India that feels a sense of “betrayal” by Bangladesh, a feeling that despite the enormous sacrifices made by India and her troops during the war of liberation, Bangladesh has turned very anti-Indian and today harbours anti-Indian terrorists. The border skirmish of 2001 and the mutilation of Indian soldiers’ bodies remain fresh in public memory. There is resentment that those events were pushed under the carpet and there was no retribution from India. That, and subsequent events have led to India being labelled a “soft state” or a “lamb state” by analysts in world capitals.

    After witnessing almost a millenium of invasions from the west, and remaining powerless against these, the average Indian today feels emboldened by his country’s economic and military prowess.

    I clarify that my earlier statement was just a reflection of this sentiment and not advocating of a war with Bangladesh.

  5. Thanks Suren for your views.

    You would be surprised to know that “blaming India” is a tactical ploy of the political parties who are Anti-Awami league and pro right-wing, especially the Islamist parties. The have the ghost of Pakistan in them and naturally they will try to blend in the Indo-Pakistan dichotomy and be at all time war situation. The general public sadly has to hear these craps everyday and you know how it is easy to brain wash the uneducated masses. It is unfortunate that the Indian medias pick up only those views which is exactly their goal.

    Despite of all many of our consumer goods are produced in India (came through legal & illegal channel), people queue up en-masse in Indian embassy starting from midnight to submit Indian Visa form in the morning. The politicians say derogatory remarks about India in the podium and come back home to watch Star Plus “K” serials glued to the TV and they will be eying to send their kid to a convent school in Darjeeling. The hypocrisy is so mind blowing that you will have to know Bangladeshis well to understand them.

    In the midst of all there are some unsolved issues which are not taken up by Bangladesh to solve with India and reserve Bangladesh’s rights. Bangladesh is losing ultimately and I don’t know whether India can benefit from a frail Indo-Bangla relation.

  6. Wamy,

    Thanks for the clarification.

    I had gathered that you are a member of that party or its youth wing after seeing your posts. If I’m not mistaken, you are also the webmaster of their official website.

  7. Nitin,

    Yes, once upon a time I WAS their webmaster, but not a member of the party. I was also an associate of Shibir, but Shibir is often mistaken as student wing of Jamaat, which it is not. Shibir is an Independent organization that takes its own decisions and does not rely on other organisations to fulfill its goals.

    Anyway, my comments are solely mine. Jamaat and Shibir have nothing to do with it. Their opinion on these incidents may differ with me as both Jamaat and Shibir are becoming more strategic on international issues.

  8. Rezwan,

    “The have the ghost of Pakistan in them …”
    That wasn’t an informed comment.

    “The general public sadly has to hear these craps everyday …”
    May be those were craps. But surely 377 dead bodies, piled in a period of (last) 5 years, are not craps. I don’t hear anything about that from the “progressive” quarter or even from the media.

    “… and you know how it is easy to brain wash the uneducated masses …”
    If you are right, then there would have been several Islamic revolutions in Bangladesh. The “uneducated mass” you are talking about mostly votes for BNP and AL (or should I say Mujib and Zia). Islamists and socialists get the educated votes.

    “In the midst of all there are some unsolved issues …”
    Let me assure you, they will never solve those problems. Because it requires the decency they lack.

    I am not talking about a war with India. All I am saying is that we say STOP to India. Because when you are raped you must utter the word “stop” to your rapist, loud enough so that he can hear. You must struggle physically to stop him from committing the act. Otherwise, it won’t be considered as a rape.

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  10. Hello everyone.I’m an Indian citizen and I’m not here to accuse anyone. Firstly,let me state that the general picture of the relations between India and Bangladesh has not been portrayed finely by the media in both the countries. I think that it’s upto the common public to come up with the solution to these problems. Confidence building measures should be done like student-exchange program or any other such sort of things.When the people of both the countries would know each other better,only then would they be able to solve these stupid disputes. Also,one more thing that I would like to say is that mostly Indians believe that they have been decieved by the Bangladesh as India helped Bangladesh attain freedom from Pakistan and got ‘Dead Bodies Of Soldiers’ in return.But we don’t know what wrongs have Indian GOVERNMENT has done against Bangladesh. If I’ve unknowingly hurted anyone’s feelings or provoked anyone,then I apologise for that whole-heartedly. I’d be waiting for ur comments.Till then,goodbye.

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