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India, Bangladesh talks held in ’cordial’ atmosphere

Wednesday 22 June 2005, by BARUAH*Amit

Dhaka says that it has launched an operation against Indian insurgent groups

Dhaka suggests three new bus routes Both sides conclude bilateral investment protection pact

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FOR RESOLVING ISSUES: Foreign Secretary Shyam Saran (right) with his Bangladesh counterpart Mohammad Hemayetuddin in New Delhi on Tuesday.

NEW DELHI: Dhaka has informed New Delhi that it recently launched an "operation" against Indian insurgent and criminal groups. This was conveyed by Bangladesh during Foreign Secretary-level talks between the two sides on Tuesday.

"We welcomed this [operation] and requested them to share details of those killed and apprehended," senior officials said after the meeting, stressing that Bangladesh had assured India that its territory would not be used by groups inimical to Indian interests.

Putting aside the acrimony that has often marked relations between India and Bangladesh, the two sides discussed all issues between them in a "very cordial" manner on Tuesday. A joint statement on the talks between Indian Foreign Secretary Shyam Saran and his Bangladeshi counterpart Hemayetuddin was expected after discussions between the two delegations went on through the day.

Gesture

In a bid to create the right environment for the discussions, Mr. Saran personally received his Bangladeshi counterpart at the airport on Monday. "It was a good gesture," a Bangladeshi diplomat told this correspondent.

All issues - from India seeking the return of United Liberation Front of Asom leader Anup Chetia to India lobbying Bangladesh for support for United Nations’ reforms - came up during the talks.

Apart from the daylong delegation-level talks at Hyderabad House, Mr. Saran and Mr. Hemayetuddin also had a one-on-one conversation, which lasted a little over 30 minutes.

Simultaneous patrolling

India and Bangladesh also agreed on the need for simultaneous patrolling by the Border Security Force and Bangladesh Rifles and restart meetings of the boundary working group.

Bangladesh also proposed three new bus routes - Dhaka-Siliguri, Dhaka-Guwahati and Dhaka-Shillong - which India promised to consider. The two sides also concluded a bilateral investment protection agreement, to be signed at an appropriate date.

An Indian source said after the discussions that the Bangladeshi side reiterated that Anup Chetia, who has already served out a jail sentence in Bangladesh, was involved in a legal proceeding and the matter was sub judice.

U.N. reforms

According to the source, Mr. Saran made a detailed presentation to his counterpart on the need for U.N. reforms and the need for Dhaka to back the G-4 resolution on expansion before the General Assembly.

The Foreign Secretary took the view that "consensus" could not lead to the expansion of the Security Council. In his reply, Mr. Hemayetuddin spoke in general terms of the need for U.N. reforms.

An Indian understanding of the Bangladeshi position on Council reforms suggests that Bangladesh is unlikely to vote for the G-4 resolution on expansion that is likely to be tabled some time next month in New York. However, whatever be the differences of opinion on issues that have divided the two nations, both sides concurred that Tuesday’s discussions were held in a positive spirit.

See online : The Hindu

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