India will ask Bangladesh to begin delivering on its word
On his visit to Dhaka for a set of bilateral foreign office consultations, foreign secretary will remind Dhaka to fulfil its promise, reports Nilova Roy Chaudhury.Updated: Jun 21, 2007 22:09 IST
When Foreign Secretary Shivshankar Menon visits Dhaka on Monday (June 25) for the first set of bilateral foreign office consultations since the caretaker administration (CA) assumed charge in Dhaka, he will remind them of the need to begin delivering on their promises.
He will meet his counterpart Touhid Hossain in the first India-Bangladesh foreign office consultations since 2005.
Menon will also visit Kolkata for a day before he goes to Dhaka to urge the West Bengal government to fulfil its commitments and firm up security measures along its porous borders.
During the initial months of the caretaker administration, India was pleasantly surprised at the crackdown not only on corruption but also on terrorist organisations and Al-Qaeda affiliates, like Jagrata Mussalman Bangladesh, and by the hanging of six leading terrorist figures including 'Bangla Bhai'.
There were a variety of statements and some action taken on the ground suggesting closer cooperation with India and a desire by the administration in Dhaka to take New Delhi's concerns on board, a former Indian envoy to Bangladesh said.
In fact, the law adviser to the CA, Mainul Hossein, recently told a UN counter-terrorism team, which visited the country to review the government's anti-terrorism initiatives that Dhaka is trying to organise itself as a "fortress against terrorism".
"Bangladesh does not want to be treated as among the terrorism-concern countries," the Hossein was quoted by The Daily Star as telling the UN delegation.
Bangladesh's Foreign Affairs Adviser, Iftekhar Ahmed Chowdhury, had told HT his government would not permit acts "inimical to India" being committed in Bangladesh.
"While there are perennial ups and downs, we have given them enough signals that we will not permit such acts against India," he said.
But the initial momentum appears to be flagging, the former Indian envoy said, forcing India to seek this high-level official meeting.
India took the first step by allowing duty free access of goods from the Least Developed Countries (LDCs) within SAARC to India and now expects Bangladesh to deliver on its offers of cooperation, particularly on leaders of insurgent groups like Paresh Barua and Anup Chetia, holed up in that country, a senior official said.
"We will talk about everything," the official said. "Certainly Chetia and Barua will figure in discussions, but we'll have to wait and see whether they actually deliver."
First Published: Jun 21, 2007 20:31 IST