Details of Modi's visit to Bangladesh being worked out: Envoy

New Delhi: Ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to Bangladesh likely in the first week of June, the country's envoy Syed Moazzem Ali on Thursday expressed happiness over the Land Boundary Agreement (LBA) with
details of modi s visit to bangladesh being...
IANS May 21, 2015 23:11 IST

New Delhi: Ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to Bangladesh likely in the first week of June, the country's envoy Syed Moazzem Ali on Thursday expressed happiness over the Land Boundary Agreement (LBA) with Bangladesh being "finally settled".

On the other long-pending issue of Teesta water sharing accord, the envoy said there was need for greater collaboration between the two countries to "conclude Teesta as soon as possible".

Ali expressed his "deep appreciation" to Modi and the NDA government "for the farsightedness and wisdom shown in early conclusion of LBA".

According to the high commissioner, Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina "actively pursued the negotiations" on the land swap deal with Modi during their meetings, both in New York in September last year and in Kathmandu, where the two leaders met on the sidelines of the SAARC summit in November last year.

Besides, Hasina was also "directly in touch" with Modi, the envoy said.

He hailed the resolution of the two border issues, including the maritime boundary and the LBA. 

In January this year, the UN tribunal ruled in favour of Bangladesh in the maritime border dispute and awarded it 19,467 sq km of the 25,602 sq km sea area of the Bay of Bengal.

He said with the LBA and the UN ruling on the maritime border, the settlement of their borders was done. "Good borders make for good neighhours," he said, adding that it can otherwise lead to tension.

Speaking at a programme organised by the Indian Association of Foreign Affairs Correspondents, Ali said he hoped the process of implementation of the LBA "will start soon and the process completed in six months".

The land swap agreement envisages transfer of 111 enclaves with a total area of 17,160.63 acres to Bangladesh, 51 enclaves with an area of 7,110.02 acres are to be transferred to India. 

A 6.1-km undefined border stretch will be demarcated with the bill being passed. 

On Modi's proposed visit to Bangladesh, the envoy said hectic preparations are on but that "no date has so far been finalised".

He said the details of the programmes, including the places Modi is likely to visit, were being worked out.

He also said there has been significant progress in terms of bilateral relations and praised the government's "neighbours first" policy and the sub regional integration.

Ali said: "If India has to look east, the first country it will look upon will be Bangladesh."

On May 7, India's parliament passed the constitutional amendment bill relating to the Land Boundary Agreement with Bangladesh.

On Teesta, he said there was no new talk or negotiation on the river and that the accord was finalised. 

According to him, the West Bengal government is "asking for some package deal from the central government".

"If they can reach an accord during Prime Minister Modi's visit, we will obviously be happy," he added.

Ali also said the bilateral joint commission on sharing of river waters was not very effective and proposed that they could form a joint river basin management authority.

He said he wants to assure India that Bangladesh will take every step possible to ensure law and order situation in the region.

On security, he said the issue had bedevilled relations in the past, and that Hasina has "stated categorically that Bangladesh territory is not to be used by any terrorist to launch any terror assaults".

He also proposed that India and Bangladesh could jointly help solve the problem of the Rohingya refugees.

 
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