Dhaka, Delhi sign trade, transit pacts, move closer on terrorism (Roundup)February 10th, 2009 - 12:16 am ICT by IANS
Dhaka, Feb 9 (IANS) Bangladesh and India Monday rejuvenated their political and economic ties, renewing a trade pact that envisages transit facility to India, and moved closer on their resolve to combat terrorism.
A 12-hour hectic visit here of Indian External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee saw confluence of views on bilateral and regional issues between the South Asian neighbours, made possible by the emergence in Bangladesh of a new political dispensation last month under Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.
In conceding road and rail transit to Indian goods that allows Delhi to connect with its isolated northeastern region, Dhaka displayed political conviction and overrode opposition brewing at home.
The main opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) has threatened agitation to oppose the deals that it considers “anti-national”.
A “basic agreement” on transit that is within the trade pact - similar to the one signed in 2006 by the BNP-led government - will be followed by a protocol to work out details.
Dhaka has been anxious to bridge its trade gap that is estimated at $1.2 billion.
Mukherjee, who signed the trade pact and a deal to promote and protect investments in both countries to boost trade, said the huge gap tilting heavily in India’s favour could not be offset.
“Being a former foreign trade minister, I can most respectfully tell you there is no mechanism through which bilateral trade between two countries in respect of each and every country could be balanced. It is not possible,” he said winding up his visit.
“But surely it is possible to reduce the gap and to keep it within the manageable limit,” he said, adding that India had taken some measures to reduce the yawning gap.
The talks reinforced a high measure of political understanding on prickly issues, both bilateral and regional.
“We categorically assured Mr Pranab Mukherjee that Bangladesh will not countenance any anti-Indian activities by elements inimical to the interests of India using Bangladesh territory,” Bangladesh Foreign Minister Dipu Moni said.
“Similarly, we have also sought India’s cooperation against elements who are trying to harm Bangladesh,” she said.
The high point of the visit was Mukherjee’s 75-minute talks with Hasina with whom he enjoys a close rapport.
Hasina elaborated on her proposal for a regional task force to combat terrorism, emphasising that the principal enemy was poverty, which could not be fought as long as terrorism and militancy thrived.
Hasina said Bangladesh attached great importance to its relations with India and wanted to maintain good relations with all her neighbours.
Reinforcing ties that have bound the two neighbours, Hasina expressed gratitude for India’s cooperation during Bangladesh’s war of independence in 1971, saying: “Bangladesh will not forget the sacrifice of several thousand Indian soldiers during the war against Pakistan.”
- 'Dhaka getting closer to Delhi, Beijing' - Jan 07, 2011
- Pranab Mukherjee to visit Dhaka in May - Apr 01, 2012
- Tripura welcomes investment from Bangladesh: Chief Minister - Jan 19, 2012
- India, Bangladesh sign trade pact, pledge to fight terror - Jul 07, 2011
- India presses Bangladesh for transit to northeast - Jul 08, 2011
- Krishna to go to Dhaka, PM warns against Jamiat-ISI links - Jun 30, 2011
- Krishna arrives in Dhaka, backs a prosperous Bangladesh (Lead) - Jul 06, 2011
- Sonia Gandhi lauds Bangladesh's efforts to tackle terror - Jul 25, 2011
- India to be more liberal to boost trade, solve water issue: Hasina - Jan 11, 2012
- 'Indian PM visit to Dhaka had several positive outcomes' - Sep 17, 2011
- India, Bangladesh ink investment pact, to jointly fight terror (Lead) - Jul 07, 2011
- Tipaimukh dam, trade to top Delhi-Dhaka talks - Sep 06, 2009
- PM to go on 'charm Dhaka' trip, India spotlights Bangla ties (Second Lead) - Jul 04, 2011
- `Manmohan's trip to be turning point in Delhi-Dhaka ties' - Sep 05, 2011
- Bangladesh, India open border land ports to boost trade - Jan 23, 2011
Tags: asian neighbours, bangladesh nationalist party, bangladesh nationalist party bnp, bilateral trade, economic ties, external affairs minister, external affairs minister pranab mukherjee, indian goods, minister sheikh hasina, northeastern region, pacts, political conviction, political dispensation, pranab mukherjee, rail transit, regional issues, trade gap, trade minister, trade pact, transit facility