Khurshid, Moni discuss Teesta, boundary issues

India and Bangladesh on Saturday reviewed the whole range of bilateral issues at the second Joint Consultative Commission (JCC) meeting aimed at consolidating the relations.

Indian External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid, who is in Dhaka on a two-day visit, and his Bangladesh counterpart Dipu Moni led their respective sides.

The JCC has also reviewed the progress of cooperation in the fields of business and trade, connectivity, power, water resources, security, border management, infrastructure, people to people contacts, culture, environment and education.

Mr. Khurshid and Ms. Moni, after the JCC meeting, signed three bilateral documents — including two two memoranda of understanding — on cooperation in various fields like the construction of Akhaura-Agartala rail link and the setting up of a think-tank named Bangladesh-India Foundation.

Meeting sources said Mr. Khurshid also discussed Teesta water sharing agreement and ratification of the land boundary agreement that both the governments want to finalise at the earliest. It is believed the visit will also kick off the groundwork for the visit in early March of President Pranab Mukharjee when the government will honour him for his support during the 1971 Liberation War.

Joint commission

The joint commission was established under the Framework Agreement on Cooperation for Development signed by the two Prime Ministers on Sep 6, 2011.The first meeting of the JCC was held in New Delhi on May 7, 2012.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina had visited India in January 2010, a year after assuming power. Mr. Singh returned the visit in September 2011 when signing of a number of deals kicked off a new beginning in the bilateral relationship.

India and Bangladesh also signed a $1-billion credit agreement including a $200-million grant for different projects, mostly related to the railways and infrastructure development, in August 2010. This was the highest loan that India has so far committed to any country. But issues like Teesta water sharing deal and ratification of land boundary agreement remain unresolved, which officials believe could be settled this year with the visit of Indian President.

India’s Foreign Secretary Ranjan Mathai during his visit to Dhaka on February 10 also reiterated that India was ‘unwavering’ in its commitment to ink the deal in the shortest possible time. Mr. Khurshid is likely to call on Bangladesh Prime Minister and other key Ministers before flying back to New Delhi on Sunday.