Tense Bangladesh Myanmar border
WE cannot but be concerned by the reported buildup of large number of Myanmar military force in very close proximity of our border. This is in addition to the Nasaka or the Myanmar border force whose strength has also been increased manifold.
It is disconcerting that not only have Myanmar light infantry battalions been moved to the border, supporting arms including heavy artillery as well as fighter aircraft have been moved to the forward operating bases. These are very definitive battle indicators, and the Bangladesh Rifles as well as the army has quite rightly moved to reinforce the troops on our side of the border.
We fail to understand the rationale behind such an unwarranted buildup by our eastern neighbour since there has been nothing on our side of the border to warrant such a move on its part. We are concerned too about the the reported amassing of thousands of Rohingyas on the Myanmar side of the border, waiting to be pushed into our territory.
By and large the Bangladesh-Myanmar border has been quiet and peaceful over the last many years and there have not been any incident that could not be tackled at the local level by the two border forces. However, we have noticed the propensity of the military junta in Yangon to up the ante from time to time, particularly since the maritime stand-off in October of last year when Bangladesh faced a similar situation due to the deployment of Myanmar forces in strategic locations along the 200--mile Bangladesh--Myanmar border.
We would hope that Myanmar, with whom we have good relations, would dispense with the sabre--rattling and seek a resolution of disputes, if any, peacefully and through discussion.
There are indeed several issues that need to be addressed by the two countries. There is the longstanding issue of repatriation of Myanmar nationals since 1991, when more than 250 thousand Rohingyas were pushed into Bangladesh, and which generated a war like situation, has not seen its conclusion. Last year, tension flared up when our maritime boundary was transgressed by the Myanmar navy in support of its offshore gas exploration activity. But the situation did not get out of hand, thanks to the prudence of both the parties.
We are sure that the rulers in Yangon are well aware that nothing can be resolved through force or coercion. If anything, aggressive posturing would only create undue hurdles to an amicable solution. We would hope that both sides would act positively to reduce the tension on the border.