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India Increases Vigilance Along Border With Bangladesh Amid Terrorism Threat


India government officials say they have ordered closer surveillance of land borders amid concerns of more potential terrorist strikes inside the country by militants infiltrating from either Bangladesh or Pakistan.

India has increased vigilance along its border with Bangladesh. Domestic media reports say officials made the move following intelligence that suspected militants have entered the state of West Bengal.

There are specific concerns about members of Harkat ul-Jihad-al-Islami, which operates in both Bangladesh and Pakistan, and has been blamed for urban attacks in India in recent years. There are also worries about potential strikes by separatists targeting West Bengal and Assam, who are believed to have camps across the Bangladeshi border.

The director general of the Border Security Force, M.L. Kumawat, tells reporters security has been stepped up in the wake of such intelligence.

"We have asked our people to be highly alert and see that in no circumstances people from other countries can come into our country," he said. "We have heightened our vigilance, heightened our alertness and I can assure you that border guarding forces are much more alert than they were ever before"

The border with Bangladesh is notoriously porous with smugglers routinely moving across it without challenge. Kumawat says that border is of particular concern.

"About Bangladesh border, as you know, we have 4,096 kilometers of border on our eastern frontier and there are some areas where we do not have a fence, even now," he said.

India's home minister Palaniappan Chidambaram told the parliament on Wednesday that he is ordering faster construction of additional fencing along the Bangladesh border.

The minister, who took responsibility for internal security in wake of last month's Mumbai terror attack, also says diplomatic efforts are being made to have the Bangladeshi and Burmese governments take action against anti-Indian insurgents on their soil.

India blames the Mumbai attack on at least 10 radical Islamic terrorists who infiltrated by sea from Pakistan.

That has prompted top Indian government officials to vow to upgrade and unify coastal and port security. At present India has no coordinated system for defense of its shores with security responsibilities divided among more than 20 separate ministries, agencies, departments and civilian and military forces.

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