Dhaka: Bangladesh and Indian Home
Ministry officials Tuesday began the crucial Joint Working Group
(JWG) meeting, a day ahead of the start of a two-day Secretary
level talks which is expected to discuss cooperation in
counter-terrorism and firing along the international border.
"The joint working group meeting is expected to focus
discussions on three major issues of frontier situation,
cross-border security and on means to develop bilateral ties,"
said a Home Ministry official familiar with the process.
He said Home Ministry Joint Secretary Kamaluddin Ahmed
leads an 11-member delegation at the joint working group
meeting with a 10-member Indian delegation being led by Indian
Home Office Joint Secretary Shambhu Singh.
Officials said the group was meeting to finalise
"joint record of discussions" for the Secretary-level meeting,
beginning tomorrow while Home Secretary Abdus Sobhan Shikdar
and his counterpart Gopal K Pillai were expected to come up
with a joint statement at the end of their talks on Thursday.
Pillai is expected to take up with Sikder the issue of
early handing over ULFA general secretary Anup Chetia, who has
completed his sentence in Bangladesh, to India so that he can
participate in the proposed peace talks with the banned
Chetia has been languishing in a Dhaka jail even since
his arrest on December 21, 1997. ULFA chairman Arabinda
Rajkhowa has also asked government to take steps for the early
return of Chetia.
"Frontier shootouts resulting in deaths of frontier
villagers are to dominate the talks today while we will convey
our concerns on the matter to our counterparts," said a
Bangladeshi official familiar with the meeting.
The joint working group meeting starts two days after
Indian High Commissioner in Dhaka Rajeet Mitter was summoned
by the Foreign Ministry here to lodge a complaint against the
killing of 15-year-old girl Falani allegedly by Border
Security Force men earlier this month as she was trying to
return home from India, where she was working.
A foreign office statement yesterday said the envoy
assured it of conveying "the concern of the government of
Bangladesh to the concerned Indian authorities" and "expressed
the hope that both countries would be able to work out ways to
prevent recurrence of such incidents in the future".
The last Home Secretary level talks between the two
countries were held in 2008 though the two top Home Ministry
officials are supposed to meet every year alternatively at
each other’s capital.