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Deals with India on right track, say Bangladesh experts

By The Assam Tribune

dhaka, March 5 (IANS): Bangladesh is "on the right track" in signing deals with India and it needs to evolve an effective follow-up mechanism, economists and analysts here said.

They asked the government to involve Bhutan and Nepal in the negotiation process "to help South Asia grow together".

In one of a series of dialogues being held following Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's India visit in January, Foreign Minister Dipu Moni blamed main opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) for "making people confused" on relations between Bangladesh and India.

"Creating confusion is not politics. We have to come out of that politics," The Daily Star Friday quoted her as saying.

Hasina's Delhi visit "will not only establish long-lasting bilateral relationship but also boost regional cooperation", the minister said.

According to her, the Dhaka-Delhi deals have five key implications: Withdrawal of restrictions on trade and investment, opening up of Chittagong and Mongla ports, regional electricity trading and cooperation on water resources.

The opposition viewpoint came from former foreign secretary Reaz Rahman, currently adviser to former prime minister Khaleda Zia.

He opposed the deals signed with India saying that those would "benefit India most".

The Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD), a major think tank, organised the discussion on 'Advancing Bangladesh-India Economic Cooperation: Modalities and Challenges' with its chairman Rehman Sobhan in the chair.

Sobhan said many problems that remained unresolved for years between Bangladesh and India started getting resolved after the recent summit.

"They (Bangladesh-India) have identified the issues to boost trade and connectivity. Now they have to negotiate to move the progress forward and operationalise the cooperation," said Sobhan.

Prime Minister's Adviser Mashiur Rahman said the government was "on the right track to boost bilateral and regional relationship".

Ahsan Mansur, executive director of Policy Research Institute, said as the South Asian Free Trade Agreement (SAFTA) "is stuck over India-Pakistan row", Bangladesh had no way to join international community other than India.

"We have to go with India," he added.

CPD executive director Mustafizur Rahman said that India's northeastern states presented "a good opportunity for Bangladesh's exports. But these opportunities can be best realised if they are economically developed".

"Bangladesh has to facilitate this process through various avenues of deepening cooperation with India," he said.

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Deals with India on right track, say Bangladesh experts

dhaka, March 5 (IANS): Bangladesh is "on the right track" in signing deals with India and it needs to evolve an effective follow-up mechanism, economists and analysts here said.

They asked the government to involve Bhutan and Nepal in the negotiation process "to help South Asia grow together".

In one of a series of dialogues being held following Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's India visit in January, Foreign Minister Dipu Moni blamed main opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) for "making people confused" on relations between Bangladesh and India.

"Creating confusion is not politics. We have to come out of that politics," The Daily Star Friday quoted her as saying.

Hasina's Delhi visit "will not only establish long-lasting bilateral relationship but also boost regional cooperation", the minister said.

According to her, the Dhaka-Delhi deals have five key implications: Withdrawal of restrictions on trade and investment, opening up of Chittagong and Mongla ports, regional electricity trading and cooperation on water resources.

The opposition viewpoint came from former foreign secretary Reaz Rahman, currently adviser to former prime minister Khaleda Zia.

He opposed the deals signed with India saying that those would "benefit India most".

The Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD), a major think tank, organised the discussion on 'Advancing Bangladesh-India Economic Cooperation: Modalities and Challenges' with its chairman Rehman Sobhan in the chair.

Sobhan said many problems that remained unresolved for years between Bangladesh and India started getting resolved after the recent summit.

"They (Bangladesh-India) have identified the issues to boost trade and connectivity. Now they have to negotiate to move the progress forward and operationalise the cooperation," said Sobhan.

Prime Minister's Adviser Mashiur Rahman said the government was "on the right track to boost bilateral and regional relationship".

Ahsan Mansur, executive director of Policy Research Institute, said as the South Asian Free Trade Agreement (SAFTA) "is stuck over India-Pakistan row", Bangladesh had no way to join international community other than India.

"We have to go with India," he added.

CPD executive director Mustafizur Rahman said that India's northeastern states presented "a good opportunity for Bangladesh's exports. But these opportunities can be best realised if they are economically developed".

"Bangladesh has to facilitate this process through various avenues of deepening cooperation with India," he said.