2002 India - Bangladesh

India – Bangladesh

Except for a gap of about 700 kilometres, all of Bangladesh is fenced in by a concrete and barbed wire fence dotted with watchtowers every 2,9 kilometres. Measuring over 3400 kilometers, this is the longest border fence in the entire world. Only in the years since 2006, almost a 1000 people lost their lives to this fence in some way. That seven times as many human lives as were lost because of the Berlin wall between 1961 and 1989! The fence has its origin in a 1986 decision by the Indian government to unite its socially and religiously splintered population by creating the illusion of a common enemy through a clear demarcation. However, by 2000 only five percent of the planned construction had been completed. The 2001 attacks on the world trade center in New York were the excuse the Indian government needed to rapidly complete the entire length. In the name of the war against terrorism, the ruling political parties could muster support to build a fence which in reality also solved another one of their problems; illegal labor immigration. Thus, in one gesture India managed to equate economic refugees with terrorists.