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Updated: November 15, 2009 16:39 IST

Hasina to visit India on Dec 18; anti-terror pact on cards

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A file picture of Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheik Hasina. Photo: AP
A file picture of Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheik Hasina. Photo: AP

Bangladesh Premier Sheikh Hasina will pay a three-day visit to India from December 18, during which the two countries are expected to ink three agreements, including one on combating terrorism and organised crime.

Ms. Hasina, who will be in New Delhi on her first visit since assuming office this year, is scheduled to meet Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on December 19, state-run news agency BSS said quoting officials.

It said she would directly fly to New Delhi on December 18 after attending the climate change summit in Copenhagen.

Foreign secretaries of the two sides met here yesterday to review bilateral issues ahead of the visit and “looked into progress on the understanding reached during Foreign Minister Dipu Moni’s visit to India in September last,” officials said.

Indian Foreign Secretary Nirupama Menon Rao told newsmen she had come here in the “context of preparations for a very significant visit of the Bangladesh premier” to India.

Later at a regular press briefing the Bangladesh foreign secretary Mohamed Mijarul Quayes said the priority issues his country would table at the summit would be sharing of water in common rivers, particularly Teesta, power import, connectivity with Nepal and Bhutan and other border issues.

Mr. Quayes said the two countries were expected to ink three agreements - on mutual legal assistance on criminal matters, transfer of sentenced persons and combating international terrorism, organised crime and illegal drug trafficking.

Mr. Quayes said cooperation on dredging in major rivers, and upgradation of railway systems is also expected to come up for discussion.

He evaded a question on the issue of transit, being pursued by India for a long time, but said there should be “a space for negotiations“.

He, however, hinted that New Delhi could seek transit to a third country through Bangladesh during the visit.

India has already offered Bangladesh the facility to use its territory to be connected to Nepal and Bhutan and agreed to provide railway transit for goods transportation between Bangladesh and Nepal.

He said dredging of the Ichhamati river, border issues, law and order, and security issues and Ashuganj as a port of call under the existing water transit protocol could be taken up by India.

Foreign minister Moni had earlier said the two countries planned to sign several “landmark treaties” during Ms. Hasina’s forthcoming India visit as her own tour prepared the grounds for inking the deals.

During Ms. Moni’s visit, India agreed to facilitate transit facility for Bangladesh to Nepal and Bhutan, provide at least 100 MW power on priority basis, increase trade and communication facilities and resolve other outstanding issues.

The two sides also agreed to settle three major border related issues on enclaves, lands in adverse possession and un-demarcated border lines under a package.

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