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India to work closely with Bangla on combating terrorism

world Updated: Jan 27, 2009 01:46 IST
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India on Monday said it was determined to work closely with the new government in Bangladesh to widen the scope of bilateral cooperation, particularly on combating the menace of terrorism that has turned out to be the "major threat" to peace and stability in the region.

"Our leadership has reiterated our determination to work closely with the newly elected government of Bangladesh to further strengthen our bonds of friendship and widen the scope of our cooperation in days to come," the Indian High Commission said in a Republic Day statement here.

The statement, signed by Indian High Commissioner Pinak Ranjan Chakravarty, pointed to terrorism as the "major threat" to peace and stability in the region among "many transnational challenges" like climate change, energy and food security to threaten the developmental efforts.

"The brutal terrorist attack in Mumbai has shown that we need to resolutely rebuff such evil attempts that strike at our common civilisational roots. We remain determined to work with friendly countries like Bangladesh to address this menace," it said.

New Delhi earlier welcomed the new government of Awami League leader Sheikh Hasina soon after its election last month after two years of state of emergency under a non-party interim government backed by the military.

Prime Minister Manmohon Singh and Congress leader Sonia Gandhi had greeted Hasina over phone while External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee is due to visit Dhaka on a two-day tour early next month.

"We welcome the return of multi-party democracy in our close and friendly neighbour, Bangladesh ... The large voter turnout and the successful conduct of elections
(of December 29, 2008) is undoubtedly a resounding victory for democracy in Bangladesh," the Republic Day statement read.

Terrorism and trade issues are expected to dominate Mukherjee's planned talks with the Bangladeshi leadership.

Hasina's Awami League in its election manifesto proposed formation of a South Asian Task Force for enhanced bilateral cooperation to fight terror discarding "mutual blame-gaming".

In her first appearance before the media after the landslide victory in the December 29 elections, Hasina said terrorism would be a priority in her government's foreign relation agenda.

New foreign Minister Dipu Moni had recently said discussions with New Delhi would continue to resolve the outstanding issues while her ministry would prioritise the issues of maritime boundary dispute with India and Myanmar for now.