Pranab goes to Dhaka Feb 9, counter-terror high on agenda


New Delhi : Bolstering counter-terrorism and security cooperation will top the agenda when External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee goes to Dhaka Feb 9 – the first visit by an Indian leader after the Sheikh Hasina government took over.

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“There is a very positive agenda for rebuilding the relationship. Counter-terror cooperation and expanding security dialogue will be on top of the agenda,” official source said here Friday.

“It’s an important visit. We have a moment of hope,” the sources added.

India is hopeful that the new government in Dhaka will take action against Indian insurgent groups that have taken shelter in the neighbouring country. Remaking economic relationship will also be a high priority during the visit.

A senior commerce ministry official said the investment protection agreement will be signed during the visit, and India will also take up the issue of renewing the trade agreement which lapses March 31.

India is the number one source of imports for Bangladesh with bilateral trade standing at $3.6 billion. Out of this, Bangladeshi exports to India account for only $342 million.

The last round of trade talks was held in 2007.

India is ready to strike off more items from its negative list from the present 480 to expand trade with the neighbouring country, Joint Secretary in the Ministry of Commerce Rajeev Kher said here at a CII function.

Last year India had shortened its sensitive list from 744 to 480.

“We are open, we are prepared to review our negative list and take it further down,” he said.