Unlike the militaries of Bangladesh of the past and Pakistan even now, the Indian military has always seen itself subordinate to its political masters. As one book review stated, “Independent India has never known a military coup d’état – scarcely even the rumour of one.”
Even the harshest enemies of India and its military (that would be Pakistan and China, both have fought wars against India) will not claim that the Indian military acts outside the chain of command.
This is a testament to the democratic principles practiced by the armed services in the world’s largest democracy.
India’s border security force (BSF) is not part of the Indian Military–it is under the purview of Ministry of Home Affairs, and is considered a law enforcement agency.
The Daily Star and other newspapers are reporting:
Bangladesh Rifles and the Indian Border Security Force traded gunfire for around three hours yesterday after BSF crossed the Jaintapur border in Sylhet and shot locals.
At least 15 villagers were injured in the BSF firing, reports our staff correspondent from Sylhet.
The BDR and BSF jawans fired more than a thousand shots, forcing the villagers to flee their homes, said eyewitnesses.
The skirmish took place a day after BSF intruded into Bangladesh, dug bunkers and retreated following a flag meeting.
Only three days back, the Indian frontier force assured their Bangladesh counterpart of no more killing of villagers in the bordering areas. The assurance came when directors general of the two forces met in New Delhi.
Some 40 Indian Khasia people entered the Bangladesh territory through Muktapur-Jaintapur at around 10:30am.
An hour later, they were joined by a hundred more. Backed by the Indian border guards, they soon began erecting bamboo huts at Mandir Tila, about 300 yards off the no-man’s land.
As they refused to leave on repeated requests from the villagers, a brawl ensued. Hurling stones, the two sides chased each other for an hour.
Talking to The Daily Star last night, BDR Director General Major Gen Md Mainul Islam termed the incident “very regretful”.
He said the BSF stopped firing after BDR had contacted the Indian side.
He observed the decisions taken at the recent director general-level meet do not seem to have been communicated to the BSF officials at the grassroots level.
Really? A DG-level meeting directive has not filtered down to the sector commanders on the Indian side? So is it possible that the BSF, a much smaller force than the Indian military, has a broken chain of communication and/or is actively defying its political masters and even its own director general?
Given the history and culture of Indian armed forces, it is not just unlikely, it is impossible.
Which leads me to the conclusion that the incursion inside Bangladesh and shooting at unarmed civilians by BSF occurred with an informed consent or even a direct order from India’s government.
In short, India’s prime minister and the home minister has the blood of innocent Bangladeshis on their hands.
I have no idea why India is doing this to a friendly government that poses no threat to India (unlike the BNP government that actively patronised Indian insurgents). I do not have to understand India’s motivation to condemn it.
But what is worse is the pussyfooting on Bangladesh’s part. Where is the report about the foreign ministry asking the Indian envoy to explain his nation’s actions? Where is the protest? Oh–I guess those did not happen.
Friendship with India is a necessity for Bangladesh. But it must be based on mutual trust, respect and understanding, not one-way murder of Bangladeshi people by India.