Anti-national elements taking advantage of friendly borders: Shinde
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Union Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde on Friday said "anti-national" elements were taking advantage of "friendly borders" and advised the border security forces to be extra vigilant on these fronts.
He said the task of guarding open and friendly borders with countries like Nepal and Bhutan was a "big challenge" and that security forces should ensure "total curb" on illegal activities along frontier areas.
It was along the Nepal border that Indian Mujahideen (IM) chief Yasin Bhatkal and alleged Lashkar terrorist Abdul Karim Tunda, who had been on wanted lists for over a decade, were arrested this year.
Shinde made the statements at a function marking the golden jubilee of the Sashatra Seema Bal (SSB) — the border force deployed along the Nepal and Bhutan borders — in New Delhi.
"We have open borders with some countries as we have very old friendly relations with them. People can move across in these areas without any problem but we have seen anti-national elements take advantage of this... security forces should render their duties with utmost sincerity in these areas (and) should ensure a total curb on such activities," he said.
Shinde also asked the forces to continue undertaking social welfare activities like providing education and healthcare to people living in border areas. The home minister, who met officers and jawans at the SSB camp in south Delhi, announced quick sanction of funds for the forces' officers training academy in Srinagar, Uttarakhand, which was damaged extensively during the recent calamity in the state.
In his inaugural speech, SSB chief Arun Chaudhary briefed Shinde about the damage the academy had suffered due to the heavy rain and subsequent floods and said it was "difficult" to train young recruits in absence of regular infrastructure. He also requested Shinde to allow the force to return to its old format of keeping a separate non-combatised wing for intelligence collection and conducting welfare activities for locals.
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