Written by Diplomatic Correspondent
Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) troops landed on the St Martin's Island in Cox's Bazar on April 7 after 22 years. This “heavily armed” deployment came under a government directive for ensuring overall security of the island.
A press statement issued from the BGB headquarters saying, BGB personnel were deployed with “heavy weapons” to the Saint Martin's island for checking smuggling and ensuring security of the tiny island in the Bay of Bengal. The deployment followed a government directive... ...
It, however, didn't say what prompted the government to deploy BGB members there after about 22 years.
“As per the government directive, the BGB has been redeployed with heavy weapons to Bangladesh's Southernmost point, the Saint Martin's island, from today. The BGB had been deployed to the island for its security till 1997,” said the statement.
“The BGB members will carry out patrols, protect the country's border and prevent smuggling,” added the statement.
The development came at a time when an 11-member BGB delegation, led by its Director General Maj Gen Md Shafeenul Islam was visiting Myanmar to attend a high-level conference with the Myanmar Border security Force.
If the BGB deployment was over Myanmar claiming Saint Martin’s Island on two previous occasions, Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal said: “The deployment is not related to that issue. But we are keeping it in mind. The BGB has been deployed to secure our borders.”
BGB Teknaf-2 Battalion Acting Commander Lt Col Sarker Md Mostafizur Rahman said the media a border outpost has been set up on the island.
“The BGB members will carry out patrols, protect the country's border and prevent smuggling,” said he.
It is noted that Bangladesh and Myanmar are currently going through a diplomatic tussle over the repatriation of more than one million Rohingya refugees living in congested makeshift camps in southern Bangladesh where they fled from a military crackdown in Myanmar’s Rakhine state beginning Aug. 25, 2017.
Tensions also rose over Myanmar’s inclusion of a tourist-hub remote islet, Saint Martin’s Island, as part of its territorial government map at least twice in last six months.
In the wake of Bangladesh’s strong protest, Myanmar authorities removed the island from their official website, clarifying that it was done mistakenly.