New Delhi and Dhaka have expressed firm optimism on the signing of an interim deal on sharing the waters of Teesta and Feni rivers and a framework agreement on land border during Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's proposed visit to Dhaka on September 6.
The visit will also see some other important agreements, including on transit, import of power from India, joint venture power generation, cooperation in security, education, culture and trade liberalisation.
The talks on transit agreement were at the final stage as India believed it would be mutually beneficial and helpful, said External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna, while addressing a joint press briefing after talks with his Bangladesh counterpart, Dipu Moni.
“The talks are at the final stage. We are extremely optimistic and hopeful that we would be able to arrive at an agreement, which would be mutually beneficial and helpful,” he said.
Bangladesh Foreign Minister Dipu Moni said the visit of Dr. Singh was going to be a milestone in bilateral relations.
Ms. Moni said he and Mr. Krishna discussed the various initiatives taken by the two sides for passage of goods through Bangladesh to various destinations.
There would be a broad framework. There would be several smaller protocols under this larger framework, for the use of Mongla and Chittagong ports, she said.
On the proposed water sharing deal, Ms. Moni said it would be done on equity and fair share basis, while the demarcation of 6.5 km border, transfer of enclaves and adversely possessed land would be under ‘a package' in the spirit of the 1974 Mujib-Indira Land Boundary Agreement.
Mr. Krishna said the talks on transit “are at the final stage and we will be able to reach an agreement soon.” However, he said some nitty gritty was being currently worked out. He said the water sharing deal would be beneficial for both countries.
The Bangladesh Foreign Minister said Dhaka's concern was conveyed to her Indian counterpart on the killing of Bangladesh nationals along the border.
India assured Bangladesh that killings at the border would be brought down to zero level through joint border management.
Both the sides agreed to closely coordinate activities to prevent trafficking and smuggling of arms, narcotics and fake currency notes in order to control criminal activities along the border. Both Ministers reiterated that any insurgent, extremist or terrorist group would not be allowed to use the soil of their countries to carry out activities inimical to their interests.
Prior to the press briefing, an agreement on standard operating procedure for movement of Bhutanese vehicles between Indian and Bangladesh local customs stations was signed. The two countries also exchanged instrument of ratification of the India-Bangladesh agreement on promotion and protection of investments.
Deal on power
The power purchase agreement would be signed this month and electricity supply could begin from 2012 or early 2013, said Mr. Krishna, adding that they had reached an agreement to sell 250 MW at a concessional rate and an option was there for buying another 250 MW at a rate decided later.
“I've no doubt that the visit will help take significantly forward the mutually beneficial cooperation between our two countries,” he said. When his attention was drawn to the recent remark of Dr. Singh about Bangladesh, he said clarification had been already issued. “The Bangladesh- India relationship could be a role model for other counties,” he added.
Ms. Moni said there would a small ceremony to recognise the role of Indira Gandhi in the liberation war during the visit of Sonia Gandhi to Bangladesh.