B`desh key opposition party resents `transit` to India

Last Updated: Thursday, December 10, 2009 - 13:47

Dhaka: The country`s main opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) has opposed the government`s move to join the UN-sponsored Asian Highway, saying it would provide "transit" to India for its northeastern region.
A resolution passed at the fifth national council meeting here reiterated its stand, which had been adopted when the party ruled the nation (2001-06), that India stands to gain at the expense of Bangladesh, reports the New Age.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has initiated moves to join both the Asian highway and the Asian rail network that would connect Bulgaria in Europe to Bangkok in Southeast Asia, a move that reverses what it considers the `isolationist` policy of the government of her arch political rival, Begum Khaleda Zia.

Bangladesh is in talks with the Indian railway authorities to improve the rail infrastructure and make it compatible for the trans-national network.

By another resolution, the BNP asked the government to "expedite diplomatic efforts" to prevent India from building a dam on Barak river at Tipaimukh, 200 km upstream of Bangladesh.

Zia had made this demand in a letter to Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh that was sent a few months back.

India says it will not draw water from the Tipaimukh dam and states that it is only for power generation. It has repeatedly assured that it will do nothing to jeopardise Bangladesh`s interests.

Both are delicate issues in Bangladesh-India bilateral ties that are expected to come up during Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina`s visit next month to New Delhi.

Another resolution passed by the BNP was asking the government to resolve the maritime boundary "in consultation with neighbouring countries".

Maritime boundary is emerging as an important issue in South Asian region with all the littoral states in the Bay of Bengal rushing to explore hydrocarbons.


First Published: Thursday, December 10, 2009 - 13:47

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