External Minister S.M. Krishna, who concluded his three-day visit here on Friday said the transit service through Bangladesh was “completely for peaceful purposes” and that there was no possibility of transporting any weapon or military hardware.
Giving a lecture on “India and Bangladesh: Partners in Progress,” organised by the Bangladesh Institute of International and Strategic Studies (BIISS), he said: “Transit is only for peaceful purpose and there is nothing to fear.”
Asked what Bangladesh would get after recovering the cost of providing the transit service, Mr. Krishna said Dhaka would need to establish market in the north-easten States and in this way relationship would mature. The two countries should see connectivity in a dynamic concept of markets that were growing rapidly on both sides of the borders.
‘A new momentum'
“I have noticed a new momentum in our bilateral relations in recent times. We need a framework for cooperation on development, which will help us build the physical and institutional infrastructure to meet the aspirations of our people.”
According to him: “India and Bangladesh cannot afford to miss this historic opportunity to work together to be a part of the new future.”Our geographical proximity makes us natural partners. Our cultural identity will promote this partnership.”
He also noted that the experience of democracy has empowered both the peoples and built institutions that deliver peace, prosperity and stability.
On security issue, he said that the neighbours face non-traditional security threats like the rise of religious fundamentalism, extremism and terrorism, which, he said, were unfamiliar to this region.
Mr. Krishna also said outstanding land boundary issues would be resolved in the near future “in a fair, reasonable and mutually acceptable manner.” He was optimistic about sharing the waters of the rivers Teesta and Feni.
Mr. Krishna met his Bangladesh counterpart Dipu Moni and called on Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, President Zillur Rahman, Finance Minister A.M.A. Muhith. He also had interaction with Editors and senior journalists.
The Minister, who called on Ms. Hasina on Thursday, said the two countries were expected to resolve all outstanding issues before Dr. Singh's visit. He also observed that the existing bilateral relations could be a “role model” for other Asian countries.