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India, B'esh to put ties on irreversible higher trajectory
February 19, 2007 19:59 IST
India and Bangladesh on Monday agreed to jointly combat terrorism and put bilateral ties on 'an irreversible higher trajectory' as External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee held wide-ranging talks with the country's top leadership.
In a gesture aimed at assuaging Bangladesh's concern over huge bilateral trade imbalance, Mukherjee announced that India will allow duty-free access to import of two million pieces of readymade garments from Bangladesh while the issue of restrictions being placed on import of cosmetics from this country has also been resolved.
"India attaches the highest importance to its relations with Bangladesh," Mukherjee told media persons wrapping up his day-long visit to Dhaka to invite Bangladesh to the forthcoming South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation summit to be held in New Delhi on April 3 and 4.
Mukherjee said both sides agreed to jointly combat terrorism, which today poses a 'grave challenge to our society and threatens the rapid economic development of our nations.'
The two countries agreed to place bilateral relations on an 'irreversible higher trajectory,' said Mukherjee after holding talks with President Iajuddin Ahmed, care-taker Prime Minister Fakhruddin Ahmed, Foreign Minister Iftekhar Ahmed Chowdhury and former prime ministers Sheikh Hasina and Khaleda Zia.
Replying to a question, Chowdhury said his talks with Mukherjee largely covered cross-border security issues when he categorically told his Indian counterpart that no external terrorist group will be allowed to use Bangladesh soil.
Briefing media persons after the talks, Chowdhury said the meeting covered all aspects bilateral relations and they deliberated largely on 'cross-border security issues.'
The issue of transit link to India's north-eastern states with rest of the country through Bangladesh did not 'feature much' in his talks with Mukherjee, Chowdhury said, replying to a question.
Chowdhury said he told Mukherjee that Dhaka was concerned over sharing of waters of common rivers and construction of a hydroelectric dam along the north-eastern frontier as Bangladesh was 'not getting' its due share.
Mukherjee said that Bangladesh offered early commencement of Sealdah-Joydevpur passenger train service and to build a bridge over Raghnacherra River.
Chowdhury said they discussed all aspects of bilateral matters when Mukherjee assured him that India will remove non-tariff and para-tariff barriers enabling unimpeded exports of Bangladesh goods to Indian markets.The issue of transit to link India's northeastern states with rest of the country through Bangladesh did not 'feature much' in talks with Mukherjee, he said, replying to another question.