In the wake of Thursday’s strong protest by Dhaka, Myanmar on Friday defended the deployment of troops and artillery along the Bangladesh-Myanmar border saying that it was done for internal security.
Myanmar, however, refuted the claim of firing blank shots along the border and assured Bangladesh of informing it prior to doing anything like that along the border in the future.
The Myanmar side came up with its position at a flag meeting held between the two countries on Friday at Bangladesh-Myanmar Friendship Bridge point.
After the meeting, Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) Battalion-34 Commander Lt Col Monjurul Hasan Khan said the Myanmar side wanted to know why the Bangladesh side was installing CC cameras along the border.
“In reply, we told them the installation of CC cameras was not targeted to Myanmar as those were installed for our own security,” he said.
Ahsan Khan claimed that the situation along the border was normal and Rohingyas staying on the no-man’s land were doing fine.
Myanmar Border Guard Police (BGP) told BGB that they were prepared to take back Rohingyas staying on the zero line any time, he said.
BGB-34 battalion Commander Lt Col Manjurul Ahsan Khan led the Bangladesh team at the flag meeting which was held at 3:30pm and lasted for about an hour and 15 minutes.
Earlier on Thursday morning, Myanmar suddenly deployed a huge contingent of its army with heavy weapons along the Tombru border with Bangladesh. They have also fired gunshots that created panic among the Rohingyas.
Terming the army deployment a violation of border norms, BGB also reinforced deployment along the border and a flag meeting was called.
Later on Thursday night, acting Foreign Secretary Rear Admiral (retd) Md Khurshed Alam called the Myanmar Ambassador in Dhaka at his office and handed over a protest note.
The Foreign Ministry conveyed concerns of Bangladesh on the military build-up around the border pillar No 34 near the Tambru border area where several thousand Myanmar residents have been staying on the zero line.
Khurshed Alam conveyed to the Myanmar envoy that such military build-up will create confusion within Bangladesh and escalate tensions on the border.
The acting Foreign Secretary also expressed the concern that such event may hamper repatriation process which both sides agreed to implement.unb