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.