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Indian Army chief to visit Bangladesh


New Delhi : Indian Army chief General Deepak Kapoor is to visit Bangladesh, possibly towards the end of the month, an official said.

“The details are being worked out but the visit will most likely take place towards the end of this month,” the defence ministry official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

“This will essentially be a return visit for that of the Bangladesh Army chief (General Moeen U. Ahmed in February), the official added.

That visit, the first by a Bangladesh Army chief of India was considered significant as the political changes and the promulgation of an emergency in the country in January 2007 was strongly backed by the armed forces.

New Delhi hopes that the new dispensation in Dhaka would act on its complaints of cadres of the United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA) and other militants using Bangladesh as the staging post for raids into India’s northeastern region.

Even more worrisome than the anti-India groups are the operations of Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) and the Harkat-ul-Jehad-al-Islami (HuJI) extremist group. India has blamed the HuJI, established in 1992 reportedly with assistance from Osama bin Laden’s International Islamic Front, for two sets of blasts in Hyderabad last year.

While the official was tight lipped on the agenda for Kapoor’s visit, analysts said this would include improving bilateral ties and greater military-military interactions between the Indian and Bangladeshi armed forces.

India has been steadily reaching out to Bangladesh and during Ahmed’s visit, had gifted him six horses valued at a little over Rs.35 million ($850,000) as a token of goodwill and friendship.

Kapoor had handed over the reigns of the two stallions and four mares to Ahmed.

“In the last four or five years, there has been an engagement of a positive nature, but there have been no concrete achievements. We need to turn that around,” an official had said at that time.

Ahmed is the first four-star officer of the Bangladesh armed forces.