Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Sheikh Hasina will review the entire gamut of bilateral relations and discuss ways to enhance these in mutually-beneficial manner, the government sources said

India and Bangladesh are expected to sign three pacts related to counter-terrorism and organised crime during Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s visit here from January 10, a step that could help address India’s concerns about north-east insurgents taking shelter in that country.

The two countries will sign a few other agreements and MoUs, including one in power sector, during the three-day visit that is expected to give a push to the bilateral relations in the backdrop of recent positive atmospherics.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Ms. Hasina will review the entire gamut of bilateral relations and discuss ways to enhance these in mutually-beneficial manner, government sources said here.

The two countries are expected to sign an Agreement on Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters, Agreement on Transfer of Sentenced Persons and a pact on Combating International Terrorism, Organised Crime and Illicit Drug Trafficking during the visit, which will be Ms. Hasina’s first trip to India after taking over in January last year.

The agreements are aimed at addressing India’s concerns with regard to north-east insurgents taking shelter in Bangladesh as a legal framework would be in place to transfer them, including those having undergone sentences in that country.

India has a lot of expectations on this front from the Ms. Hasina government. Dhaka has already taken a number of discreet measures to deny safe haven to north-east insurgents, which is reflected by the arrest of some top ULFA leaders like Arabinda Rajkhowa.

India and Bangladesh have agreed to develop mechanisms to hasten the process of verification of nationality of prisoners lodged in jails of either country, particularly of those who have completed their sentences, to enable their early repatriation, the sources said.

Since the Hasina government came to power, the goodwill for India in Dhaka has increased and both sides are working to address their differences and promote cooperation in a wide range of areas, including commerce, railways and power.

Ms. Hasina’s visit is expected to be beneficial in this regard.

During the visit, the Indian side is expected to announce a credit line of up to USD 500 million.

India has been looking “sensitively” at issues relating to tariffs on goods from Bangladesh and has made a provision for duty-free import of eight million pieces of garments.

Benefits under the Least Developed Country (LDC) are also being extended to Bangladesh, as a result of which the list of sensitive items for import has been pruned considerably.

In the energy sector, the two countries will sign a power exchange MoU providing for import and export of electricity amounting to over 900 million units per annum depending on availability, need and price, the sources said here.

The price and various modalities for exchange of power will be worked out later for the MoU under which about 250 MW of power is expected to be exchanged initially and eventually it could touch 1,000 MW.

Energy-deficient Bangladesh will receive the power from Indian grids in West Bengal and Tripura.

The two sides are also working to ink an agreement on Teesta River water sharing.

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