Centre for visa-free entry for Bangladeshi nationals below 18 and above 65 years, Assam opposes

Last Updated: Thursday, June 19, 2014 - 21:57

Guwahati: The Centre has proposed visa-free entry for Bangladeshi nationals below 18 years and above 65 years into Assam.

This was disclosed by Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi at a press conference here. He said the state government was opposed to such an idea.

"Few days ago, the Narendra Modi government had sent us a proposal seeking our opinion regarding the lifting of visa for Bangladeshi nationals below 18 years and above 65 years of age. We have expressed our opposition to this," he said.

It is already a very difficult job to trace all the foreign nationals coming to India with a valid visa and "no-visa will make the task even more difficult for government agencies", Gogoi stressed.
"The Centre has sought our opinion for multiple-entry in a single visa. We have opposed this proposal too," he said.

The Assam government has, however, accepted two other proposals ? starting a Dhaka-Guwahati bus service via Shillong and allowing transit for water transport, he said.

Assam had earlier opposed the Centre`s proposal to give work permit to Bangladeshi nationals.

"We want good relations with all our neighbours, including Bangladesh. But we have to look into the security aspect also as it is very important for us," he pointed out.

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj is scheduled to go on a three-day visit to Bangladesh from June 25 and is likely to meet top leaders there and discuss vital issues including relaxation of visa norms.
Her visit is considered a part of the Modi government`s outreach to neighbouring countries as was evident in the
invites sent to top SAARC leaders to attend the swearing-in of the Prime Minister on May 26.

Incidentally, Modi during his campaigns for this year`s general elections, had said that if BJP comes to power, all illegal Bangladeshi immigrants in India will be deported.

PTI


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