India, Bangladesh sign five pacts to cement ties
INDIA: Leaders of India and Bangladesh met in New Delhi on Monday
with talks focused on strengthening the previously difficult ties
between the two south Asian neighbours, an Indian official said.
Cross-border relations have improved in recent years and Bangladeshi
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s delegation signed five cooperation
agreements with India in areas ranging from cultural exchanges,
security, preventing crime and power supply.
Hasina, who has received strong support from Delhi since she came to
power a year ago, discussed ways to boost trade and Dhaka’s crackdown on
Bangladesh-based Indian separatist rebels with Indian Prime Minister
Manmohan Singh, an Indian foreign ministry official said.
New Delhi has often accused Dhaka of providing shelter to militant
groups active in India’s northeast, but Hasina has detained several
senior rebels and handed them over to India.
Both countries resolved a bitter dispute on sharing the waters of the
Ganges river in 1996 and will work to end disagreements over how to use
waters of smaller rivers flowing through both countries, the official
Other thorny issues bedevilling ties include Dhaka’s apparent
reluctance to allow New Delhi transit rights through its territory to
India’s landlocked northeast, and India’s refusal to grant Bangladeshi
goods duty free access.
“Sheikh Hasina’s visit is an opportunity to lay the foundations of a
much more stable relationship,” Arundhati Ghosh, a retired Indian
official formerly posted in Dhaka, told AFP earlier Monday.
“It is India’s strategic interest to cooperate” with its small
neighbour, she said.
New Delhi, Tuesday, AFP