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‘India, Bangladesh likely to explore new avenues’

New Delhi, India: On the eve of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s visit to Dhaka, a group of experts suggested that both sides should explore new areas of cooperation on climate change, science and technology, IT and communication, space, remote sensing, medicine and health, disaster management, food and energy security, renewable energy, etc.

A task force report titled “India and Bangladesh: Moving Towards Convergence”, argued that Singh’s visit will provide an opportunity to take India-Bangladesh relations to a higher trajectory and move towards a strategic partnership.

The report emphasises that the legacy issues— border demarcation, enclaves, river water sharing etc.— which have bedevilled India-Bangladesh relations should be settled at the earliest possible. In addition, it recommended that the legacy issues— demarcation of the land border, exchange of enclaves and adverse possessions, Teen Bigha corridor flyover, etc.— should be settled as a package.

The trade deficit of Bangladesh has been a long-standing issue in bilateral relations. Bangladesh, after having cooperated with India in security matters and the landmark visit of Sheikh Hasina, is now looking for a major concession to boost its trade. The report has recommend that an FTA with Bangladesh is preferable, in the event of its not being realised in short term India can think of making unilateral concessions. It can consider abrogating the negative list or at least make it as small as possible.

According to the report Bangladesh would be seeking an agreement on river water sharing. Both countries have nearly reached an agreement on sharing of the water of Teesta and four other rivers. Minor differences should not be allowed to come in the way and an agreement should be signed.

Source: Financial Express