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India, Bangladesh cement ties, sign comprehensive pact

Tuesday September 06, 2011 08:39:51 PM, Rahul Dass , IANS

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Dhaka: India and Bangladesh Tuesday cemented their ties by signing a comprehensive framework agreement and with pacts on a variety of issues ranging from land disputes to tiger conservation.

Hours after Prime Minister Manmohan Singh arrived on a two-day visit, the two countries signed a protocol on demarcating their land boundary, a pact to facilitate overland transit to Nepal and on conserving the Royal Bengal Tiger -- and the Sundarbans.

The agreements were signed after Manmohan Singh, the first Indian prime minister to visit Bangladesh in 12 years, held delegation-level talks with his Bangladeshi counterpart Sheikh Hasina for over half hour.

Both leaders also met separately for about 45 minutes

Manmohan Singh was accorded a warm welcome at the Shah Jalal International Airport here by Sheikh Hasina.

Accompanying the Indian prime minister were External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna and Chief Ministers Tarun Gogoi of Assam, Manik Sarkar of Tripura, Pu Lalthanhawla of Mizoram and Mukul Sangma of Meghalaya.

Manmohan Singh arrived here on a day that saw considerable diplomatic efforts following India's decision to postpone the Teesta water treaty agreement.

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had refused to accompany Manmohan Singh to Dhaka to protest the final draft of the Teesta river water sharing agreement.

Bangladesh wanted to know from India as to why it was not going ahead with the Teesta deal.

Bangladesh Foreign Secretary Mizarul Kayes queried Indian High Commissioner Rajeet Mitter on the delay in the Teesta deal, an official said.

"It is not acceptable to us at all" if India does not sign the deal after finalising details, Kayes was quoted as saying.

Mitter assured him that the accord would be inked as quickly as possible after finishing due consultations, the official added.

India and Bangladesh have a 2,979 km land border and a 1,116 km riverine boundary. The Indian states of West Bengal, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Assam and Tripura share the 4,095-km border with Bangladesh, of which around six km is undemarcated.



(Rahul Dass can be contacted at rahul.d@ians.in)









 

 

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