Kolkata: Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Thursday asked five eastern states sharing boundaries with Bangladesh to be extra vigilant against the influx of Rohingyas and illegal immigrants through the porous Indo-Bangla border.
At a meeting of chief ministers and home ministers of West Bengal, Assam, Mizoram, Meghalaya and Tripura here, he said a border protection grid on the lines of Unified Command set up in insurgency-hit states would soon come up in these states to check illegal infiltration.
Kiren Rijiju, Minister of State for Home Affairs, was also present in the meeting hosted by the Mamata Banerjee government at Nabanna Sabhaghar. The top brass of the Border Security Force (BSF) and different intelligence agencies were also present in the meeting.
The home minister resolved to check illegal immigrants who have links with extremists groups for further anti-national activities with the ulterior motive and posing a threat to internal security.
"Radical elements and terrorists can be checked only with joint action and active cooperation of central and state governments," he said.
The influx of Rohingyas and Bangladeshis through the porous Indo-Bangla border has been a significant concern for India.
The home minister said the concept of the grid had been planned as a multi-pronged and reliable mechanism to secure the 4,036-km-long Indo-Bangla border.
"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.
Of the border with Bangladesh, 2,217 km falls in West Bengal, 262 km in Assam, 443 km in Meghalaya, 856 km in Tripura and 180 km in Mizoram.
This is the fourth meeting of the chief ministers of states, which share international borders, called by the home minister. Three separate meetings of chief ministers of states, sharing borders with Pakistan, China and Myanmar, was held earlier.
Unified Command structures comprising army, paramilitary forces and state police are in place in states like Jammu and Kashmir, Assam and Nagaland to efficiently deal with militants.
Singh said the Centre has been giving highest priority to secure India's international border by putting in place a robust system to facilitate legitimate trade and commerce.
"India has friendly relations with Bangladesh, and all these measures will be taken to facilitate genuine trade and legitimate cross-border movement of people while curbing radicalisation, illegal immigration, smuggling of cattle, fake Indian currency notes and drugs," he told the chief ministers and top officials of the five states.
Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee appreciated the central government's initiative to hold this meeting of the chief ministers and offered full cooperation to any joint action.
Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal sought a new law to check the cross-border smuggling, including cattle, and practical steps to end illegal immigration.