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US Marine Corps wants to survey BD-India border
Collecting detailed terrain intelligence
Staff Correspondent
The US Marine Corps wants to assist Bangladesh in surveying and managing its borders with India with the ostensible purpose of identifying routes of movement of terrorists and religious extremists. Sources within the Home Ministry have confirmed that a secret meeting was held where this issue was discussed. The proposal for such a joint survey of borders with foreign military forces was violently opposed by intelligence agencies and the Armed Forces Division (AFD). Nonetheless, AFD has already received instructions from the Office of the Chief Advisor to allow such surveys with US Forces. Sources further confirm that US forces are already on ground carrying out those surveys and have in fact carried out visits to various bordering areas including Banglabandh. It may be mentioned that Bangladesh does not have any MOU or Status of Forces Agreement with US to carry out such activities and yet US Forces have been permitted to operate in Bangladesh on such a sensitive issue as border survey and management.
Although the BD-India border is being surveyed, India is apparently acquiescing to the presence of US forces along its borders perhaps on a understanding that such "intelligence" would be shared with India and its security forces.
In another development the US has asked for detailed terrain information about major cities including Dhaka as well as for details of all airports and airstrips in Bangladesh on the ostensible purpose of "disaster preparedness" for such events as floods, cyclones and earthquakes. In this regard the US is demanding a Command Post Exercise (CPX) between Bangladesh and US forces where the US has already requested for bringing in one of their Navel vessel right into Sadarghat, through the Buriganga.
Meanwhile, US, UK and Australia are all sending various proposals for joint exercises of various sorts with Bangladesh Armed Forces. These proposals are being sent to various ministries without intimation to the AFD. Under the circumstances the AFD has requested the concerned ministries to avoid such commitments without appropriate approval from the AFD.
Sources further confirm that these developments involving foreign military forces, particularly those of USA, have all taken place within the last six months and that US, UK and Australia are increasingly pressurizing Bangladesh to accept such commitments, sometimes bypassing diplomatic and other normal channels for such purposes. "It would appear that foreign military forces want to control training and intelligence of the Bangladesh Military. US military personnel are openly moving about in the DGFI offices. There is considerable commotion within the Bangladesh Army in this regard and many Officers are apprehensive and disturbed that a serious threat to the sovereignty of Bangladesh is developing", sources said.

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