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Trade, connectivity to be high on agenda: Shringla

Trade, connectivity to be high on agenda: Shringla
Indian High Commissioner Harsh Vardhan Shringla on Monday said trade, connectivity and information sharing will be among the key issues of talks of his government during Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s upcoming visit to India.
He also said the two countries are working on Teesta water-sharing and defence cooperation deals, hinting at delay in reaching an understanding on the issues.
Terming Sheikh Hasina’s India visit, beginning on April 7, very important and historic for both the countries, Shringla said she will be the first foreign head of state to stay at Indian President’s residence (Rashtrapati Bhaban).
Foreign dignitaries stay at hotels, but Sheikh Hasina will stay at the President’s residence, he said, adding it bears the testimony of India’s high regard for Bangladesh.
The Indian envoy came up with the remarks while he was speaking at a discussion on the possible issues of talks during Sheikh Hasina’s upcoming tour of India.
The event was held at the auditorium of East West Media Group Ltd (EWMGL), a concern of the country’s leading business conglomerate Bashundhara Group.
Samia Rahman, head of current affairs at News24 TV station, moderated the discussion.
Bashundhara Group Chairman Ahmed Akbar Sobhan, Bangladesh Pratidin editor Naem Nizam, Kaler Kantha editor Imdadul Haque Milan, editor-in-chief Alamgir Hossain, daily sun acting editor Shiabur Rahman and Kaler Kantho executive editor Mostafa Kamal, among others, attended the event.
Attaché of Press, Information and Culture Ranjan Mondal and First Secretary of Political and Information Rajesh Uike of Indian High Commission were also present.
The government of Sheikh Hasina signed Ganges water-sharing deal during its past tenure in 1996 while the Land Boundary Agreement in 2009, Shringla mentioned.
The Indian envoy also hopes that the Awami League government will resolve all other pending issues.
Indicating delay in signing Teesta deal, Shringla said Indian government takes every decision through democratic process on the basis of consensus of lawmakers and all concerned.
The decisions are taken on the basis of consensus so that they can be sustainable, he said adding that India likes to be a developing partner of Bangladesh.
The issues relating to tourism, trade, greater cooperation, information sharing, connectivity and border haat will be the key issues of talks during Sheikh Hasina’s visit.
Shringla regarded Bangladesh’s high growth rate, its 70 percent population below 40 years and remittance as positive signs.
About declaration of March 25 as Genocide Day, he said such a step by Bangladesh government will help international community know about the mass killing and brutality committed by Pakistani forces on March 25, 1971.
Shringla also said India will extend all-out support to Bangladesh in getting international recognition of Genocide Day.
A section of people is trying to establish that a few people were killed in Bangladesh during its liberation war, he said, adding Genocide Day will enable Bangladeshi people to counter the propaganda of those trying to relegate the atrocities of Pakistani military.
The Indian envoy also spoke highly of the print and electronic media outlets of EWMGL for their objective journalism.
He mentioned India provided duty and quota-free access of 61 Bangladeshi products to its market in 2011.
Asked about Indian Chief of Army Staff’s Dhaka visit scheduled for March 30, Shringla said it will be his professional tour.
He, however, did not reply to a query as to whether both countries will work together to curb militancy.
Recalling India’s contribution to Bangladesh’s independence, Bashundhara Group Chairman Ahmed Akbar Sobhan said, “India is a good friend of Bangladesh. We are happy to know that Prime Minister Narendra Modi greeted people of Bangladesh on the occasion of the Independence Day.”
He also expressed his optimism about gradual improvement of the relations between the next-door neighbours.
“We are always optimistic that relations between two countries will grow and grow. Our relations will be forever,” the Bashundhara Group chairman added.
Bangladesh Pratidin editor Naem Nizam said people of Bangladesh expect that all pending issues will be resolved through talks during Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s India visit.
After the discussion, the Indian envoy visited the offices of Bangladesh Pratidin, Kaler Kantho,, daily sun, Radio Capital and News24.

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