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Salman Khurshid arrives in Bangladesh on two-day visit

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16 Feb 2013, 03:29 PM
Khurshid embarks on 2-day B'desh visit
Khurshid embarks on 2-day B'desh visit

Dhaka: External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid on Saturday arrived here on a two-day Bangladesh visit during which he will meet Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and other top leaders and discuss issues of bilateral interests.

Bangladesh Foreign Minister Dipu Moni received Khurshid at the Shahjalal International Airport.

The two leaders are scheduled to hold the second high-level meeting of the Joint Consultative Commission (JCC) to review a wide spectrum of bilateral issues.

The Foreign Ministry and Indian High Commission officials said the two ministers are expected to sign two memorandums of understanding (MoU) - the construction of Akhaura-Agartala rail link and the setting up of a think-tank to be called Bangladesh-India Foundation.

The officials said an addendum to the Avoidance of Double Taxation Agreement between the two countries is also expected to be inked while the two leaders would exchange Bangladesh-India strip maps.

"Khurshid is also scheduled to call on Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and other senior government leaders," a Bangladeshi foreign ministry spokesman said.

His visit comes three days after Indian cabinet approved draft of the long pending Land Boundary Agreement for parliamentary ratification through constitutional amendment.

The bill will facilitate the implementation of the LBA signed in 1974 while its protocol was inked in 2011. The crucial land boundary issue involves exchange of land involving 111 Indian enclaves in Bangladesh and 51 Bangladeshi enclaves in India.

The issue has been hanging fire for several years as additional protocols for the 1974 Land Boundary Agreement had to be formalised. The protocols were signed during the 2011 visit of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to Dhaka.

"We will convey to them the steps we have taken to implement the Land Boundry Agreement. This will be a great benefit to both sides," Khurshid said

He said the constitutional amendment bill will be placed (in Parliament) in this coming session. "Hopefully, we will get it passed."

Khurshid said, "lots of steps have been taken to develop bilateral cooperation. We will be handing over buses... there are lots of work on trans-border rail links."

This is Khurshid's maiden visit to Bangladesh after taking charge of the External Affairs Ministry last year. His last visit to Bangladesh was in May last year as the Minister for Law and Justice and Minority Affairs.

"We would also discuss other areas of economic and strategic cooperation... The issues also include transit, common border management," Khurshid said, adding that we have just signed a landmark extradition treaty with Bangladesh.

Khurshid, the officials said, would handover Moni a solar lamp as a symbol of Indian assistance for the victims of deadly cyclone Sidr which hit Bangladesh coastline five years ago.

The two ministers are also expected to review the groundwork for the proposed visit of President Pranab Mukherjee to Dhaka next month.

(Agencies)

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