‘His­toric’ Visit

Southasia - - Briefing -

In­dia’s Prime Min­is­ter Dr. Man­mo­han Singh made the much-an­tic­i­pated visit to Bangladesh last month. He was the first prime min­is­ter from In­dia’s Congress Party to visit the coun­try in nearly 40 years. The last visit by an In­dian premier was in 1999.

Sev­eral agen­das were put forth by the two sides in an at­tempt to put the bumpy bi­lat­eral ties in a new tra­jec­tory through sign­ing of deals in a range of sec­tors in­clud­ing ex­tra­di­tion of sen­tenced per­sons, con­nec­tiv­ity, power, ex­change of en­claves and bor­der man­age­ment.

“We at­tach the high­est im­por­tance to fur­ther de­vel­op­ing and strength­en­ing our re­la­tions with Bangladesh. Our part­ner­ship with Bangladesh is im­por­tant for the sta­bil­ity and pros­per­ity of our own north­east re­gion,” Dr. Singh com­mented while talk­ing to the me­dia.

The two neigh­bors for­mally re­solved their out­stand­ing pro­tracted fron­tier prob­lems by sign­ing a pro­to­col on land bound­ary at the end of talks. The two also signed a com­pre­hen­sive co­op­er­a­tion agree­ment, one more pro­to­col and seven mem­o­randa of un­der­stand­ing (MoUs) on sev­eral ar­eas of mu­tual in­ter­est. The pro­to­col sign­ing ended im­me­di­ately the out­stand­ing is­sues of en­claves, land in ad­verse pos­ses­sions and un-de­mar­cated bor­der­line, the three ma­jor is­sues that re­mained un­re­solved since the 1947 par­ti­tion.

“Singh’s trip is an his­toric visit. It has paved the way for a pros­per­ous fu­ture for the whole re­gion,” Bangladesh’s For­eign Min­is­ter Dipu Moni told the me­dia.

How­ever, Bangladesh’s main op­po­si­tion BNP called Prime Min­is­ter Man­mo­han Singh’s Dhaka visit largely “a fail­ure” due to “weak di­plo­macy” of the Hasina govern­ment, while the main­stream me­dia said the de­fer­ring of the Teesta water shar­ing pact dealt a “se­vere blow” to bi­lat­eral ties.

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