Petrapole (West Bengal), Nov 6 (IANS) Union Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde Wednesday said relations between India and Bangladesh would not be affected by the conflict situation within Bangladesh.
The minister was present at the Indian side of the border checkpoint here in West Bengal's North 24-Parganas district, where he witnessed the joint retreat ceremony between the troopers of the two countries and described it as a "landmark event".
"Unrest must be temporary. The relations between the two have been good since its (Bangladesh's) independence. Bangladesh and India must remain united in the days to come," said Shinde at the event, marked by the ceremonial lowering of flags by the border security forces of the two countries -- Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) and India's Border Security Force (BSF).
While Petrapole is the Indian side of the border checkpoint, Benapole is the checkpoint on the Bangladesh side.
The minister said that despite concerns over the porous international border, increased cooperation had led to easier travel arrangements between the two countries.
Shinde stressed that the joint retreat ceremony will not only strengthen ties between BGB and BSF, but also decrease cross-border tension and lead to better management of borders. It would also bring down incidents of infiltration, he said.
Shinde said collaboration between BGB and BSF was at an "all time high", and this was "reflected in huge reduction in incidents of violence and loss of human lives along the border".
Bangladesh Home Minister Muhiuddin Khan Alamgir also attended the ceremony Wednesday.
"The joint retreat between the border guarding forces will not be limited to the regular ceremonial process, but will create a new chapter in the ties between the two countries," he said.
The ceremony will be held daily at sunset, marking the end of each working day on the Petrapole-Benapole border, and will be extended to two other places in the eastern theatre in future.