India to export 5 lakh tonnes of rice to Bangladesh: Pinak

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Dhaka, Feb 15 (UNI) Despite banning exports of rice 500 dollars per tonne, India would export five lakh tonnes of rice at 400 dollars per tonne to Bangladesh to honour past commitments, Indian High Commissioner Pinak Ranjan Chakravarty said.

''India took the decision to ensure food security for its people.

How it could be possible to feed others by keeping ourselves starved?'' Mr Chakravarty told reporters after a meeting with Bangladesh Home Affairs Advisor Major General (retd) MA Matin yesterday.

''India must feed its own people first,'' United News of Bangladesh quoted him as saying.

In reply to a question, the High Commissioner said friendly ties between the two nations would not suffer due to the recent ban on exports of low-priced rice.

''That should not spoil the relationship between the two neighbours,'' he added.

When asked about New Delhi's view on Bangladesh's current political situation, he said his country wanted Bangladesh return to democracy through free and fair elections according to the election roadmap.'' Responding to questions on India's alleged failure to implement its commitments to assist Bangladesh in post-disaster situations through 2004-2008, he said all committed aid would reach Bangladesh in phases, depending on our budget allocations and stocks of commodities at home.

Mr Chakravarty and Maj Gen Matin also discussed border issues, direct transportation between Bangladesh and Nepal through Indian corridors, passenger train service and easing visa regime.

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