Krishna meets Bangladesh FM, discuss bilateral issues

Priyanka Tikoo and Ajay Kaul

Thimphu, Feb 7 (PTI) India and Bangladesh todaydecided to push the implementation of various initiativesannounced last year, including in the field of connectivityand water sharing with an aim of concluding them ahead of thevisit of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to that country laterthis year.

At a meeting between External Affairs Minister S MKrishna and Bangladeshi counterpart Dipu Moni here, the twosides took stock of the implementation of the initiativesannounced during the visit of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina toNew Delhi last year when India extended a Line of Credit worthUSD one billion.

Two sides expressed satisfaction at the progress on"each and every" issue decided during Hasina''s visit, Monisaid.

Connectivity, water sharing, enclaves, un-demarcatedborder were some of the key bilateral issues on which twosides are making tangible progress, she said, adding the twocountries would "try to conclude most of these issues" aheadof Singh''s visit.

To lay the ground work for Singh''s visit, Foreignsecretary Nirupama Rao is expected to visit Bangladesh nextmonth and will be followed by a trip by External AffairsMinister S M Krishna.

Both sides expressed commitment to "maintain andsustain" the momentum of implementation of the initiatives,External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Vishnu Prakash toldreporters.

Official sources said the two countries were workingfor early resolution to issues like the un-demarcated boundaryof 6.1 KM, enclaves and adverse positions. A head count isexpected to be taken up in March in such enclaves.

Moni, who met Krishna on the margins of 33rd SAARCCouncil of Ministers meeting here, said her country was quitesatisfied with the security cooperation between the twocountries maintaining that both sides agree that "terrorism isnot given any kind of space".

However, she raised the issue of recent killing of a14-year-old girl by BSF in the border area and Krishna assuredher that India has taken adequate steps into the unfortunateincident.

"We again requested the minister that utmost restraintshould be exercised in the border areas in wake of killing ofa girl," she told reporters after meeting Krishna.

On whether Bangladesh will extradite ULFA leader AnoopChetia, she said only convicted prisoners, who suo-motu opt,can be extradited under the current agreements between the twocountries.

Krishna also had an audience with Bhutan King JigmeySinghe Khesar Wangchuk, who told him that he would doeverything possible to deepen the bilateral relationship.

During the meeting, India gave a cheque of Rs 15 croreto the corpus of Kidu Foundation, which has been establishedby the Royal Charter and aspires to effectively implementgovernment efforts to address critical issues in the areas ofeducation, rule of law, democracy and media, sustainableeconomic development and preservation of the country''senvironmental heritage.

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