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Bangladesh, India exchange crime information

DHAKA (Reuters) - Bangladesh and India have exchanged lists of wanted criminals and suspected insurgent camps at a five-day meeting of their border forces which ended in Dhaka on Monday.

Major General Shakil Ahmed (R) Director General of Bangladesh Rifles (BDR) and Ashish Kumar Mitra, Director General of Indian Border Security Force (BSF), shake hands and exchange documents at the end of a meeting to discuss extradition treaties between the two countries, in Dhaka October 29, 2007. REUTERS/Rafiqur Rahman

Each country frequently accuses the other of sheltering insurgents and criminals.

Although the two countries have no formal extradition treaty, India returned three wanted criminals to Bangladesh earlier this month and a few more are likely to be sent back in the future.

Officials said the Dhaka meeting had ended with a pledge to improve bilateral ties.

“We have requested India to hand over 1,591 wanted Bangladeshi criminals either hiding or detained in India,” Major General Shakil Ahmed, director general of the Bangladesh Rifles (BDR) border guard, told reporters after the meeting.

“We have handed a list of 141 Indian insurgent camps operating in Bangladesh, based on our intelligence reports,” said Ashish Kumar Mitra, chief of the India Border Security Force, who led the Indian team at the meeting.

He said Bangladesh had been asked to “destroy the camps after necessary investigations”.

“For the first time, the BDR has assured us that they will seek and destroy the camps of HUJI (Harkatul Jihad Islamist militants),” Mitra told a news briefing in Kolkata, capital of the eastern Indian state of West Bengal, later on Monday.

“We know that HUJI is actively involved in organising terrorist camps inside Bangladesh territory.”

“Bangladesh has (already) destroyed two terrorist camps and are looking for more. This reflects how we are closer to resolving problems together,” Mitra said.

Mitra said a proposed train services between Dhaka and Kolkata could not be implemented despite successful recent test runs, because “Bangladesh has not agreed to allow us to build a fence near Gede. We are still trying to work out a solution.”

The meeting also discussed other border issues such as smuggling, trespassing and human trafficking.

Bangladesh and India share a porous 4,000-km frontier.

Additional reporting by Bappa Majumdar in Kolkata