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Zia in India to enhance bilateral ties

The Bangladesh PM has arrived on a three-day state visit. What's on her menu?

india Updated: Mar 20, 2006 17:53 IST

Bangladesh Prime Minister Khaleda Zia arrived in New Delhi on Monday afternoon on a three-day state visit.

The visit is likely to inject much-needed vigour into bilateral ties and address sensitive issues like terrorism, trade and the persisting trust deficit between the neighbours.

Zia, accompanied by Foreign Minister Morshed Khan and Finance Minister M Saifur Rahman and a 40-strong business delegation, was received at the Indira Gandhi International Airport by Minister of State for External Affairs E Ahamed.

Lok Sabha Speaker Somnanth Chatterjee and Ahamed will call on Zia later in the day.

During her talks with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Tuesday, some outstanding irritants like terrorism and trade imbalance will figure prominently.

But despite some upfront talk on these issues, the two leaders are expected to focus on confidence-building measures.

These measures include proposal for a bus service between Kolkata and Agartala through Bangladesh and the signing of a mutual extradition treaty to improve the atmospherics for resolving all contentious issues.

Other touchy issues like the demarcation of the over 4,000-km border, enclaves in "adverse possession," and the presence of anti-India insurgents in Bangladesh will also be discussed between the two sides.

New Delhi is keen to repair relations with Dhaka that have soured in recent years and is pulling out all stops to welcome Zia on this goodwill visit.

"I think the hope is that when Khaleda Zia finally leaves India, she would leave as a bigger or a better friend of India than when she came here," National Security Adviser MK Narayanan said ahead of her visit.

Zia will be given a ceremonial welcome at Rashtrapati Bhavan on Tuesday morning.

She will meet President APJ Abdul Kalam, Sonia Gandhi, Commerce Minister Kamal Nath before talks with Manmohan Singh at Hyderabad House on Tuesday evening.

First Published: Mar 20, 2006 16:41 IST