Sheikh Hasina may now visit India Jan 10-11


Dhaka: Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina may visit New Delhi in January next year as her December visit has been rescheduled since leaders of both countries will be busy at the Copenhagen climate summit, Foreign Minister Dipu Moni said Monday.

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“The Bangladesh prime minister’s visit has been rescheduled. Though the fresh date has not yet finalised, but the tour is expected to take place Jan 10 or 11 next year,” Moni told reporters.

According to the earlier programme, the Bangladesh leader was scheduled to visit India Dec 18 to 21 and the possible date of the meeting with the Indian prime minister was Dec 19.

The visit would have been the first by Sheikh Hasina since her Awami League party won the landmark Dec 29, 2008, general elections.

“Sharing of waters of the common rivers, including Teesta, connectivity, increase of trade and commerce, mutual cooperation in power and energy and security related matters would dominate the forthcoming meeting of the two premiers,” the foreign minister said.

The home secretaries of India and Bangladesh, during their three day meeting (Nov 30 to Dec 2), had finalised drafts of important agreements – on mutual legal assistance in criminal matters, combating international terrorism, organised crime and illicit drug trafficking and transfer of sentenced persons – which are likely to be signed during Sheikh Hasina’s visit.

Hasina had earlier said she was in touch with India’s Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee to help improve the rail network in her country.

New Delhi is also pursuing its proposal to designate Ashuganj port in Brahmanbaria (in eastern Bangladesh) as a new port of call and to allow India to use the Chittagong port.

Before Hasina’s New Delhi visit, as a significant gesture, Bangladesh has “pushed back” one of India’s most wanted fugitives, Arabinda Rajkhowa, chairman of the outlawed United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA), the outfit’s deputy commander-in-chief Raju Baruah, Rajkhowa’s personal security guard Raja Bora along with their family members through the Indo-Bangla border at Dawki in the northeastern state of Meghalaya.

ULFA’s self appointed foreign secretary Sasha Choudhury and the group’s self-styled finance secretary Chitrabon Hazarika were last month handed over by Bangladesh Rifles (BDR) to Indian authorities and then later shown as arrested while trying to enter India through the border along western Tripura.