Bangladesh is making diplomatic efforts to calm the tension sparked by Myanmar's reported military build-up on the border. Sources told The Hindu that Dhaka had initiated parleys with Yangon. Home Secretary Abdus Sobhan Sikder said: “Guards are supposed to be on both sides of the border.

But if a country brings in its Army on the border, it triggers tension.” He said the Myanmar authorities informed Bangladesh that their military personnel visited the border only to oversee various activities by Nasaka, the Myanmarese border force.However, The Daily Star newspaper, quoting the Foreign and Home Ministry sources, said Bangladesh was also negotiating with China to resolve the crisis.

It is learnt that Director-General of Bangladesh Rifles (BDR) Major-General Mainul Islam is likely to visit Myanmar. The government is also holding dialogue with the United Nation High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to persuade Yangon not to push more Rohingya refugees across the border. Newspapers said the Yangon authorities gathered over 10,000 Rohingyas at the border and tried to push them into Bangladesh.

While the major media outlets continue to report heavy Army mobilisation by Myanmar, Foreign Minister Dipu Moni termed it a routine exercise.Major Dhaka newspapers said Yangon had brought in tanks, artillery and warships indicating a major conflict. They said its forces were repeatedly trying to push Rohingyas into Bangladesh.

The Bangladesh Rifles have been kept on high alert along the southeast frontier.Officials said over 3,000 border guards were deployed to reinforce BDR positions at Cox's Bazaar-Teknaf fronts along the 271 km. frontier with Myanmar.

Yangon has reportedly begun to erect barbed-wire fences inside its territory under military cover. BDR also set up a control room at Cox's Bazaar to monitor the situation. On Friday, a Bangladesh Foreign Ministry statement said Myanmar rejected the reports of military build-up. Foreign Minister Nyan Win made the claim after Mr. Moni met him on the sidelines of a conference in Colombo. Mr. Nyan also called the action on the frontier a “routine exercise.”

The BDR, meanwhile, identified the St. Martin's Island as the probable main target of Myanmar and advised the government to strengthen its defence. The country's lone coral island and the main attraction for tourists is under the jurisdiction of the Coast Guard. Located in a mineral-rich region in the Bay of Bengal it is about eight km. west of the northwest coast of Myanmar.Meanwhile, media reports have suggested that Army Chief Lt. Gen. Abdul Mubin visited the border in Bandarban district.


Rights group faults Bangladesh on refugeesMarch 9, 2010

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