Abolish visas between India, Bangladesh : Bangla diplomat

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New Delhi, Mar 12 (UNI) Bangladesh's former Foreign Secretary, Farooq Sobhan, today called for scrapping of visas between India and Bangladesh to improve connectivity, specially with the Northeast.

He also urged Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to appoint a third Minister of State in the External Affairs Ministry exclusively on Bangladesh in view of the growing importance the relations between the two countries.

''You have two ministers in the Ministry of External Affairs.

You need one more MOS for Bangladesh,'' Mr Sobhan said at a seminar on 'India-Bangladesh relations : Past, Present and Future' at the Observer Research Foundation (ORF).

The seminar was chaired by former High Commissioner to Bangladesh, Veena Sikri.

Pointing out that the Foreign Ministers of the two countries had met at least six times during the past six months, Mr Sobhan said he visualised ''a new, better relationship between the two countries within six months.'' ''My feedback from talks with Pranabda and the Foreign Secretary is that the talks are moving forward satisfactorily and soon things going to improve,'' he said while referring to his meetings with External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee and Mr Shiv Shankar Menon here yesterday.

He said Dr Singh is also taking keen interest in improving relations with its neighbours.

Mr Sobhan, who was also High Commissioner to India, said both countries, especially India, should revisit their visa policy to improve connectivity with the North East and between peoples who were once part of one country.

The system of visas should be abolished to help better movement between Bangladesh and the North East. Besides benefiting both countries, it would help in the development of North East as well he noted.


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