Agartala, Oct. 15: India and Bangladesh reiterated the need to work together for mutual benefit at the home secretary-level talks held near here today.
The officials discussed upgrade of Akhaura land customs station (LCP) and integrated checkpost (ICP), handing over of senior Ulfa leader Anup Chetia to India, camps of Northeast militants on Bangladeshi soil and transit-related issues, among others.
Officials of the two countries, led by secretary in the Indian ministry of home affairs R.K. Singh and his Bangladeshi counterpart C.Q.K. Mustaq Ahmed, visited Akhaura, 3km from here, and reviewed the progress made since May 17 last year when the upgrade project was inaugurated. The officials of the two countries inspected the 12-acre land where the upgraded LCS and ICP are coming up and held a series of meetings before they flew back to Dhaka late in the afternoon.
The bilateral talks were also attended by Tripura officials, headed by officiating chief secretary V. Satyanarayana. Singh told reporters that relations with Bangladesh were “excellent and vibrant”. “There are certain issues which await final solution but we are making rapid progress and all these issues will be resolved soon,” he added. He said the talks over handing over of Chetia, currently lodged in Bangladesh jail, had reached an advanced stage and the matter would be resolved as Bangladesh government was “very positive” about it. Singh said the July 12, 2012 deadline for completing the infrastructure at Akhaura had got delayed because of certain constraints and the work was now expected to be complete by March 31 next year.
Indian officials handed over an updated list of camps still run by Northeast insurgents on Bangladesh soil. Ahmed said Bangladesh had dismantled a large number of camps run by Indian insurgents over the past few years. “We will continue to do so on the basis of the list furnished by the Indian authorities,” he added. Singh lauded the Bangladesh government’s sincere efforts in taking action against the militants running camps there.
The delegations also discussed transit-related issues for transportation of Indian goods across Bangladesh to the Northeast. Both the home secretaries said the discussions on transit and extending road connectivity between the two countries were progressing smoothly. “The direct bus service between Agartala and Calcutta via Dhaka will materialise soon after we sort out all the issues,” Singh said.
He stressed the need for India and Bangladesh working together, especially in the arena of co-ordinated border management, upgrade of facilities for higher volume of trade and commerce and for removing poverty and backwardness on both sides.
Singh complimented the “positive attitude” and co-operation of Bangladesh government in taking relations between the two countries to higher levels of mutual cooperation.