Indian Army chief to visit Bangladesh July 28-30

July 24th, 2008 - 9:07 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, July 24 (IANS) The decision by India and Bangladesh to intensify cooperation in combating terrorism will receive a boost when Indian Army chief Gen. Deepak Kapoor visits the eastern neighbour July 28-30, an official said Thursday. Underlining India’s commitment to strengthening ties with Bangladesh, Kapoor will be visiting Dhaka with Home Secretary Madhukar Gupta.

New Delhi hopes that the new dispensation in Dhaka would act on its complaints of cadres of the United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA) and other militants using Bangladesh as a staging post for raids into India’s northeastern region.

Even more worrisome than the anti-India groups are the operations of Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) and the Harkat-ul-Jehad-al-Islami (HuJI) extremist group. India has blamed the HuJI, established in 1992 reportedly with assistance from Osama bin Laden’s International Islamic Front, for two sets of blasts in Hyderabad last year.

While the official was tight lipped on the agenda for Kapoor’s visit, analysts said this would include improving bilateral ties and greater military-military interactions between the Indian and Bangladeshi armed forces.

“This will essentially be a return visit for that of the Bangladesh Army chief (General Moeen U. Ahmed in February), the official added.

That visit, the first by a Bangladesh Army chief of India was considered significant as the political changes and the promulgation of an emergency in the country in January 2007 was strongly backed by the armed forces.

India has been steadily reaching out to Bangladesh and during Ahmed’s visit, had gifted him six horses valued at a little over Rs.35 million ($850,000) as a token of goodwill and friendship.

Kapoor had handed over the reigns of the two stallions and four mares to Ahmed.

Foreign Secretary Shivshankar Menon held talks with his Bangladeshi counterpart Touhid Hossain July 17 on a wide range of bilateral, regional and global issues here in a “friendly atmosphere” aimed at building “trust and understanding” between the two countries.

Speaking to reporters after the two sides ended their annual foreign office consultations, Menon said: “We are convinced that our security is interlinked and that terrorism will have to be tackled resolutely.”

“We discussed the issue of terrorism and how we both need to face it together,” he said at a joint press briefing with Hossain when asked whether the issue of alleged complicity of Harkat-ul-Jihad-al Islami (HUJI), a militant outfit which is suspected to operate from Bangladesh, was involved in recent terror attacks in India.

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