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Will not allow anti-India activities, assures Bangladesh

Sagar Kulkarni in Dhaka | February 09, 2009 22:05 IST

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Responding to New Delhi's [Images] concerns, Bangladesh on Monday gave a commitment of not allowing its territory to be used for anti-India activities, as the two countries discussed a proposal for setting up a regional task force to tackle the menace.

Reaching out to the new government in Dhaka, External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee [Images] held talks with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina [Images], Foreign Minister Dipu Moni and Home Minister Sahara Katun and conveyed concerns with regard to North-East insurgents and other terrorist elements using Bangladesh for launching attacks in India.

Describing extremism and terrorism as areas of concern for India as well as Bangladesh, Mukherjee underlined the need for sincere cooperation for the benefit of both the nations. "Closer cooperation on security issues is the need of the hour. We should move to address such issues with the understanding that both our countries will benefit in the long run," he said at a joint press conference with Moni.

Responding to India's concerns over use of Bangladesh territory by North East insurgents, Moni said the Hasina government had a firm stand against "letting anyone, whoever it is from whichever country, having whatever links with anyone to use our territory to harm any one in the region or anywhere else."

"If we have concrete information, we would be vigilant about this and if they have any information regarding this, we will act on it," the Bangladesh Foreign Minister said after talks with Mukherjee, which marked the first high-level political contact since the new government assumed office on January 6.

New Delhi has been conveying concern over the use of Bangladeshi soil by North East insurgents and other terrorists for launching attacks in India, but the response from Dhaka was not encouraging.

With the new government assuming office, India is hopeful that the issue would be addressed. Mukherjee and Moni discussed a proposal for setting up a regional task to fight against terrorism.

However, Mukherjee made it clear that any such mechanism would be futile until there is sincerity on part of the member countries in taking action against terrorism.

"So far as the concept of regional task force to fight terrorism is concerned, already certain regional and international mechanisms exist. All of us are part of United Nations Security Council resolution....to ban terrorist organisations," he said. "There is no conflict between the regional architecture and within the regional architecture, the bilateral architecture. What is more important is the sincerity to fight against the menace of terrorism," he added.




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