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Bangladeshi media hails Hasina's Delhi visit

world Updated: Jan 14, 2010 13:13 IST

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Leaders of Bangladesh and India displayed "maturity" and viewed the big picture during the New Delhi visit of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina that marks “an end to mutual mistrust” between the two South Asian neighbours, large sections of the media in Dhaka observed on Thursday.

"The summit between the two top government leaders of Bangladesh and India bears a mark of maturity in handling the sensitive issues vital to the mutual interest of both the neighbours,” The Daily Star said in an editorial.

“They have made bold and ambitious pledges. The future will judge them,” Financial Express said of the meeting Hasina had with the Indian leaders and the joint communiqué issued at the end of the visit.

The country’s only economic daily said: “Prime Ministers Sheikh Hasina and Dr. Manmohan Singh seem to be inspired by a higher call than mere diplomacy in dealing with the bilateral relations between Bangladesh and India.”

On India’s approach to issues with Bangladesh, The New Nation newspaper said in an editorial: “India's most important concern for support to combat separatist elements in the north-east are believed to have been helped by the agreements that have been signed.”

Emphasising that the success of the visit would be determined by reciprocity in implementing the things discussed, the newspaper said: “While Bangladesh has demonstrated its eagerness to develop bilateral relations, it should get reciprocal responses from India on the questions of trade, water sharing and regional connectivity. Without reciprocity it would be difficult for the government to implement the agreements, MOUs and assurances.”

The newspapers noted the change in the bilateral relationship between the two nations with the return to power of the Hasina-led alliance.

“Admittedly, during the past seven years at least, no serious effort at the highest government level could be made to resolve the outstanding issues hindering establishment of an atmosphere of constructive engagement between the two countries,” The Daily Star observed.

On economic issues, The Daily Star welcomed the prospect of Bangladesh becoming the “regional hub”.

“The prospect of India's and other neighbours like Nepal and Bhutan using the two Bangladeshi seaports opens up a new vista of cooperation on economic and commercial fronts. Bangladesh will gain from it by way of earning revenue from the overseas business the neighbours may carry out through these ports.

"It holds out the potential for a regional hub to be created. However, it would be important to see that all the countries involved could share the advantages of connectivity that the provision would create," its editorial said.

However, it drew a line on the contentious issue of India’s plan to build a dam on Barak river at Tipaimukh in Manipur.

“Though India's commitment at the summit to the effect that it would do nothing harmful for Bangladesh there is reassuring, we would still be looking forward to see concrete steps towards materialising the commitment.

The Financial Express went on to say that “the immediate achievement of the Hasina-Manmohan meeting is that it marks the formal end of mistrust and distrust that often bedevilled the relations between the governments of the two countries in the past."

It noted that “the government-to-government relationship between the two countries has never been so good since the 1975 change-over of power in Bangladesh. India has also made an extraordinary gesture, announcing a line of credit of $1.0 billion to Bangladesh".