Bangla Sunday, September 27, 2020

Myanmar troops at border: Bangladesh prepared for any situation

REPORT-1-ENG-16-09-2020-BD

Against the backdrop of continued deployment of troops by Myanmar near the border, Bangladesh is fully aware and prepared to face any situation that may arise from the actions of the country’s second neighbour, multiple government sources told Dhaka Tribune on Tuesday.

At the same time, they also made it clear that any attempt by Myanmar to push Rohingyas into Bangladesh like August 2017 would be foiled.

According to the sources, the troop deployment near Bangladesh border might be meant for the ongoing fighting between the Myanmar military and the Arakan Army, which seeks greater autonomy.

But they described the troop deployment as agitation as well as irritation, and agreed that the Myanmar military cannot be trusted. Therefore, Bangladesh has taken all the preparations to avert any situation like August 2017, when more than 750,000 Rohingyas fled to Bangladesh’s Cox’s Bazar.

BGB asks for a flag meeting

“We are aware of the troop deployment near our border. We are closely monitoring the situation,” Lt Col Ali Haider Azad, commander of the 34th Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) Battalion stationed along Bangladesh-Myanmar border, told this correspondent.

“Whether internal or something else, we are fully prepared to face any situation,” he said.

“We asked for a flag meeting to know exactly what is happening across the border. The Myanmar side has not yet replied,” Lt Col Azad added.

The BGB will resist any attempt to push Rohingyas into Bangladesh, as happened in August 2017, he said, adding that as of now there is no cause for concern.

Myanmar envoy asked to convey Bangladesh’s concern

“There are preparations on our part to face any untoward situation. For obvious reasons, all the measures that we are taking cannot be revealed,” said a senior official at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

“We are in touch with the Myanmar authorities,” he added.

About summoning the Myanmar ambassador on Sunday, the official said: “The envoy did not say anything. He was asked to convey Bangladesh’s concern about the troop movement to the appropriate authorities, and he said he would do so.”

Replying to a question, he said: “Whenever there is troop movement at this scale, obviously there are reasons behind it. Most probably, it [the troop movement] is for internal reasons, but since it is Myanmar, we are keeping a close eye on the happenings and preparing accordingly.”

Myanmar military cannot be trusted

The deployment of the troops may be for the ongoing fighting in Rakhine and Chin states of Myanmar, but considering the past, Naypyidaw cannot be trusted, said two senior government officials.

Therefore, they said, preparations are in place to deal with any misadventure from across the border.

For obvious reasons, measures that are being taken and have been taken cannot be made public, they added.