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India to take up influx issue with Bangladesh

By Prasanta J Baruah

NEW DELHI, Sept 5 � The issue of illegal migration from Bangladesh and a formal repatriation pact between India and Bangladesh is under discussion and we shall pursue it, Indian Foreign Secretary Ranjan Mathai said here today.

Addressing a press conference on the eve of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh�s two-day visit to Dhaka, Foreign Secretary Mathai replying to a question from this correspondent said that Union Home Minister P C Chidambaram during his recent visit to Bangladesh had discussed the illegal migrants issue as part of the comprehensive Border Management Plan between the two countries.

Union Home Minister Chidambaram has described the illegal migration from Bangladesh as a serious issue in Parliament. Significantly, the Bangladesh government has been consistently denying any migration of its nationals to India. The prestigious Indian Institute of Defence and Strategic Studies in a report on Indo-Bangla relations released recently has suggested that India should ask Bangladesh to acknowledge the hard reality of illegal migration of Bangla nationals resulting in drastic demographic changes in Assam and parts of West Bengal.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh�s visit will be the first such visit by an Indian Prime Minister in 12 years. The Chief Ministers of Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura and Mizoram will accompany him. West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has decided not to accompany the Prime Minister�s delegation giving rise to speculation that she is not happy with the Teesta river water sharing talks. Foreign Secretary Ranjan Mathai commenting on the development said, �There will be no agreement unless it is acceptable to both the State government as well as the Bangladesh government.�

Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina who visited India last year and her Indian counterpart are likely to sign a number of agreements relating to exchange of border enclaves, trade and commerce, information technology, river water sharing, drugs, trafficking and terrorism among others.

In a bid to usher in a paradigm shift in Indo-Bangla relations, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will meet Opposition leaders Khalida Zia of Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) and HM Ershad of the Jatiyo Party.

India has already decided to give Bangladesh one billion dollars in credit to improve its road, rail and ports related infrastructure. Of this, 750 million dollars worth of projects have been identified, Foreign Secretary Ranjan Mathai said.

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India to take up influx issue with Bangladesh

NEW DELHI, Sept 5 � The issue of illegal migration from Bangladesh and a formal repatriation pact between India and Bangladesh is under discussion and we shall pursue it, Indian Foreign Secretary Ranjan Mathai said here today.

Addressing a press conference on the eve of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh�s two-day visit to Dhaka, Foreign Secretary Mathai replying to a question from this correspondent said that Union Home Minister P C Chidambaram during his recent visit to Bangladesh had discussed the illegal migrants issue as part of the comprehensive Border Management Plan between the two countries.

Union Home Minister Chidambaram has described the illegal migration from Bangladesh as a serious issue in Parliament. Significantly, the Bangladesh government has been consistently denying any migration of its nationals to India. The prestigious Indian Institute of Defence and Strategic Studies in a report on Indo-Bangla relations released recently has suggested that India should ask Bangladesh to acknowledge the hard reality of illegal migration of Bangla nationals resulting in drastic demographic changes in Assam and parts of West Bengal.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh�s visit will be the first such visit by an Indian Prime Minister in 12 years. The Chief Ministers of Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura and Mizoram will accompany him. West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has decided not to accompany the Prime Minister�s delegation giving rise to speculation that she is not happy with the Teesta river water sharing talks. Foreign Secretary Ranjan Mathai commenting on the development said, �There will be no agreement unless it is acceptable to both the State government as well as the Bangladesh government.�

Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina who visited India last year and her Indian counterpart are likely to sign a number of agreements relating to exchange of border enclaves, trade and commerce, information technology, river water sharing, drugs, trafficking and terrorism among others.

In a bid to usher in a paradigm shift in Indo-Bangla relations, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will meet Opposition leaders Khalida Zia of Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) and HM Ershad of the Jatiyo Party.

India has already decided to give Bangladesh one billion dollars in credit to improve its road, rail and ports related infrastructure. Of this, 750 million dollars worth of projects have been identified, Foreign Secretary Ranjan Mathai said.