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Dhaka Tribune

India: Working hard to resolve outstanding issues with Bangladesh

Update : 09 Apr 2018, 05:43 PM
Indian Foreign Secretary Vijay Keshav Gokhale has said they are "working hard" internally to resolve outstanding issues with Bangladesh. “We are also aware of a few of the outstanding issues. We assure you we are working hard to resolve them," he told reporters in a statement after a bilateral meeting with his Bangladesh counterpart M Shahidul Haque at state guesthouse Meghna on Monday. The Teesta water sharing agreement is one of the major outstanding issues between Bangladesh and India though the Indian Foreign Secretary did not specify it. Bangladesh Foreign Secretary Shahidul Haque said they discussed the Teesta issue in the official meeting. "I am very happy to say that the Indian government reiterated its commitment to that. They are looking at resolving this issue as soon as possible," he said. On Rohingya issue, the Bangladesh Foreign Secretary said they discussed all the aspects, including the Rohingya issue. "We are very happy with the way our friends from India are looking at this issue, and at peacefully resolving this issue." The Indian Foreign Secretary said he has focused on the "tremendous progress" they have achieved in bilateral relationship in the meeting. He also said India will continue to help Bangladesh resolve the Rohingya crisis as early as possible. "Today, I am happy to announce our second phase of humanitarian assistance for the relief camps in Cox's Bazar," Gokhale said. Under this, the Indian Foreign Secretary said, medical field hospitals specially focused on women and child care with all necessary medical equipment and support systems are envisaged. Relief supplies including milk powder, baby food, dried fish, cooking stoves and cooking fuel, raincoats and gumboots are also planned, he said. This is based on the requirements projected by the government of Bangladesh, especially in preparation for the oncoming rainy season. The Indian Foreign Secretary said Bangladesh's humanitarian gesture in supporting thousands of displaced persons from the Rakhine state of Myanmar is "admirable." "India has been fully supportive of the efforts being made to resolve the crisis, including early repatriation of the displaced people," he said. On the part of the government of India, he said, they had sent relief materials for 300,000 people in September last year under "Operation Insaniyat" to support Bangladesh in its humanitarian efforts. On the Myanmar side, India is providing socio-economic support under Rakhine State Development Program including construction of pre-fabricated housing in order to meet the needs of the returning people. Earlier, in the bilateral meeting, they discussed the challenges and opportunities that they need to face together. "One such challenge is that of terrorism, extremism and radicalization and we will continue to fight this menace together and along with other like-minded countries," said the Indian Foreign Secretary. He said they are satisfied with the progress achieved in areas such as trade and investment, security, connectivity, border management, power, energy, shipping, people-to-people exchanges, to name a few. Terming Bangladesh "Sonar Bangla," the Indian Foreign Secretary congratulated the country on achieving a very significant milestone in meeting the criteria for graduating from LDC to developing country recently. "We remain fully committed to playing a useful role as Bangladesh's development partner as you move to achieve your goal of becoming a middle income country by 2021 and a developed country by 2041," he said. Bangladesh High Commissioner in New Delhi Syed Muazzem Ali and Indian High Commissioner in Dhaka Harsh Vardhan Shringla were present at the meeting. Before the bilateral meeting, the Indian Foreign Secretary met Foreign Minister AH Mahmood Ali. Vijay Gokhale arrived here on Sunday afternoon on a two-day visit.
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