Caution guided maritime talks between India and Bangaldesh on Tuesday as the two countries signed treaties that could help Prime Minister Shiekh Hasina battle accusations of a sellout from the opposition.
“Both Prime Ministers agreed on the need to amicably demarcate the maritime boundary between India and Bangladesh. They noted the initiation of proceedings under Annex VII of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) and, in this context, welcomed the visit of a delegation from Bangladesh to India,” the joint communiqué issued on Hasina’s visit said.
Sources said the UN route could help Hasina ward off political criticism back home that she concedes too much to India.
“Besides, the UN way out can help us, too. If the issue is in bilateral format, India, being a bigger partner, has the compulsion of conceding too much. From that point of view, it should be fine with us,” an official said.
Apart from $1 billion credit and 250 MW power, a host of goodies were given to Bangladesh to aid economic development and boost trade and business there.
Both prime ministers agreed to encourage investments, including joint investment and joint ventures.
Apart from transit rights, there was forward movement on the contentious river water sharing issue.
Manmohan Singh and Hasina also “underscored the need for both countries to actively cooperate on security issues.”
“Both leaders reiterated the assurance that the territory of either would not be allowed for activities inimical to the other...” the joint statement said.