Shillong, Sept. 1: Meghalaya will be pressing for an early settlement of the border dispute with Bangladesh and the opening up of more avenues in the trade and commerce sector to improve bilateral relationships.
The state, which shares a boundary of 443km with Bangladesh to the south, will be represented by chief minister Mukul Sangma during the visit of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to Dhaka.
Briefing reporters here today, Sangma said the state would seek an early settlement of the border dispute with Bangladesh.
Skirmishes between Indian and Bangladeshi citizens along the international border are a regular feature. The porous boundary also offers a safe route for goons to infiltrate into the country.
“The state government has placed certain views before the Centre which will be incorporated into the broad-based issues to be taken up in Dhaka,” Sangma said.
Harping on the importance of trade and commerce between the state and Bangladesh, the chief minister said: “Trade with Bangladesh has to be expanded so that the state and the region can usher in economic prosperity.”
Sangma also said apart from direct trading with Bangladesh, Dhaka can also be used as a transit route to do business with other countries.
“Even Meghalaya can be used as a transit route for trading with other nations in Southeast Asia,” he said.
Sangma also stressed the need to promote tourism in the international arena.
“Tourism in the region needs to be properly packaged to attract foreigners. This will be one of the issues to be highlighted in Dhaka,” Sangma said.
Other issues that are likely to be highlighted during the visit include introduction of a bus service from Shillong to Dhaka, opening up of more border haats, strengthening of the land custom stations and development of infrastructure in the form of construction of roads and railways along the border.