Hasina to emphasise trade, border issues in India visit
The premier, during the visit, will also emphasise stopping of border killings, said foreign ministry sources
Bangladesh will focus on issues regarding water-sharing, determining boundaries of common rivers and cooperation in defence during Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's upcoming visit to India.
The premier, during the visit, will also emphasise stopping of border killings, said foreign ministry sources.
The decisions on the meeting agenda were taken at a September 3 meeting presided over by Foreign Secretary Shahidul Haque.
In addition to the above mentioned issues, Dhaka will also discuss exporting electricity to India. Besides, different aspects about a deal on buying defence equipment from India might also be discussed during the tour.
In India, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina will participate in the World Economic Forum on October 3 and 4. On October 5, the Bangladesh premier will sit in a meeting with her Indian counterpart Narendra Modi.
In the meeting, the issue of progress in signing water treaties for Teesta, Feni, Dudhkumar, Gomoti Khoai and Dharla rivers will also be talked over.
Moreover, Bangladesh will strongly demand a resolve to the problems regarding the common rivers.
There is an unresolved issue regarding the two kilometres of the Muhuri River in Feni. If an agreement is not reached quickly, Bangladesh might lose the claim over the disputed land, feared officials concerned.
Foreign ministry officials said the issue of delimiting the lands near Ichhamati, Kalindi and Harivanga rivers will also be discussed in the meeting between the two premiers.
Bangladesh will also discuss forming of a committee for the survey of the Ganga Barrage project. The decision to run a survey was taken at a secretary level meeting on August 7 and 8 last, added the foreign ministry sources.
A memorandum of understanding on guarding the coastal areas will also be discussed in the bilateral meeting. Dhaka has already sent a draft agreement to Delhi which is yet to give a reply to it.
Bangladesh eyes increased trade with India
Furthermore, Bangladesh now not only wants to import electricity from India but also export it to the neighbouring country. Dhaka will prioritise this issue during the PM's India visit.
Bangladesh tabled the proposal in a Joint Steering Committee meeting held in Dhaka on August 25 and 26 last over cooperation in the power sector of both the countries.
Relevant sources said that Bangladesh is now capable of producing electricity more than the necessity. So, Bangladesh wants to sell this surplus power to India, especially during the winter when the demand for electricity in the country decreases significantly.
Power Division sources said Bangladesh is now capable of generating 18,000 megawatt electricity, while there is a demand for only 12,000-13,000 megawatts.
As a result, the capacity for generating around 5,000 megawatts remains unused generally.
During the winter season, the demand for electricity further decreases to 8,000 megawatts. So, almost 60 percent electricity generating capacity of the country remains idle in the winter.
Meanwhile, a decision to install a 140-kilometre gas pipeline from India's Haldia to Bangladesh's Khulna might be taken during Sheikh Hasina's visit. Establishing the pipeline is expected to benefit both the countries.
Hasina and Modi will also discuss establishing a train line from Burimari in Bangladesh to Chengrabandha in India. They will also discuss building a container terminal on the west side of the Bangabandhu Bridge and importing locomotives from India.
Bangladesh wants to purchase defence equipment from India
Besides, the decision over buying defence equipment from India might be finalised during Hasina's visit. Bangladesh signed a cooperation agreement in this regard with India during Hasina's 2017 visit to India.
Under the agreement, Bangladesh will buy defence gear from India, for which India will lend Bangladesh $500 million.
Besides, some other issues to widen the trade between the two neighbours might be discussed at the meeting.
Among these issues are an agreement over Bangladesh Standards and Testing Institution certification, imposing anti-dumping duty, a cooperation agreement between the trade ministries of the two countries, and border haats (markets).
Bring down the number of border killings to zero
In her visit, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina will also talk over the issue of bringing down the number of border killing to zero.
Since January this year, India's Border Security Force (BSF) has killed 13 Bangladeshis, said Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) sources.
According to different human rights organisations, the BSF has killed 414 Bangladeshis and injured 617 more during the last 10 years.
On January 7, 2011, Felani, a 15-year-old girl, was shot dead by the BSF at Anantapur Border in Kurigram. The BSF left her body hanging from the barbed-wire fence for four hours. The incident sparked huge criticism.
India repeatedly assured of stopping the killings at border, but so far the promise has not been materialised.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi invited Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in October last year to visit India. India's Foreign Minister S Jaishankar delivered the invitation letter to Hasina during his visit to Dhaka last month.