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Pranab to visit Dhaka in early February

January 13, 2009 15:28 IST

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Terrorism [Images], trade and port transit issues are likely to dominate the bilateral talks as External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee [Images] becomes the first high-level Indian dignitary to visit Bangladesh since the assumption of office by Sheikh Hasina [Images].

Mukherjee will travel to Bangladesh in early February and his visit is likely to coincide with an upcoming decision by Bangladesh's high court on a plea for political asylum by United Liberation Front of Asom leader Anup Chetia, who completed his detention term in December 2008.

India has said it will expedite efforts for Chetia's extradition. The talks are also likely to focus on the cooperation between the two countries on terrorism and the presence of leaders of north-eastern militant groups in Bangladesh.

"We expect him to visit Bangladesh in the first week of February but the exact date of his tour is yet to be available," an Indian high commission spokesman in Dhaka told PTI.

His comments came a day after Indian High Commissioner Pinak Ranjan Chakravarty hinted that terrorism and transit issues would dominate Mukherjee's planned talks with the leaders of the new government in Bangladesh.

"There is no compromise on the issue of terrorism. We'll jointly move against the terrorists in the subcontinent," Chakravarty told reporters after paying a courtesy call on Bangla Law Minister Shafique Ahmed on Monday.

On the issue of port transit, he said it was not a "political issue" and India was seeking transit connections to ports for its north-eastern states to enhance trade.

Meanwhile, Commerce Minister Farook Khan said that Bangladesh would discuss unresolved issues, including imbalanced trade, with Mukherjee.

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