Terrorism to top Mukherjee’s agenda during Dhaka visit

January 19th, 2009 - 1:18 pm ICT by IANS  

Dhaka, Jan 19 (IANS) A joint task force to combat terrorism in South Asia, which was proposed by Bangladesh, will top the agenda during Indian External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee’s visit here Feb 8.Although it is billed as a goodwill visit following the installation of a new government headed by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, India would like discuss the issue of terrorism as it pertains to the entire South Asian region.

There is heightened tension between New Delhi and Islamabad over the terror attacks in Mumbai last November. The world community has expressed concerns at the prevailing tension and urged all countries of the region to cooperate against terrorists.

“The regional anti-terror task force issue will come up for the discussion and I am sure that the prime minister here will raise the issue during the Indian minister’s visit,” Indian high commissioner to Bangladesh Pinak Ranjan Chakravarty told media Sunday after meeting Bangladesh Foreign Secretary Touhid Hossain.

A South Asian body to combat terror was a pre-poll pledge, contained in the manifesto of the Awami League that swept the Dec 29 poll.

Hossain told New Age newspaper that the Indian high commissioner officially communicated to him about Mukherjee’s goodwill visit.

Commenting on the Awami League-led alliance’s election pledge of formation of an anti-terror task force, Chakravarty said that his country was also working to set up such a task force.

“SAARC countries have separate conventions to face the menace of terrorism. These two countries have different forums and we can discuss that (task force) in those forums,” the envoy said.

He, however, said that there should be a discussion before setting up such a regional task force.

Mukherjee would hold discussion with his Bangladeshi counterpart Dipu Moni. The issues of reduction in trade gap, which is weighed heavily against Bangladesh, the Ganga Water Treaty and management of a 4,700 km border might come up.

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