Mukherjee to boost Indo-Bangla anti-terrorism cooperation
Last Updated: Saturday, August 07, 2010, 21:23
Dhaka: Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee on Saturday underlined the need for India and Bangladesh to deepen counter-terrorism cooperation, warning that insurgents have the "potential" to affect the bilateral ties.

Mukherjee, who arrived here today on a four-hour long visit, said India "deeply appreciates" the efforts of Bangladesh to tackle terrorism as the menace was a common concern of the two neighbours.

"We deeply appreciate the efforts of the government of Bangladesh to tackle this menace and we will continue to be closely engaged? for enhanced bilateral security cooperation, he told a press briefing at the state guest house Jamuna after the inking a USD 1 billion loan deal for Bangladesh, the largest line of credit received by Dhaka under a single agreement.

Mukherjee identified "security cooperation" to be an area that engaged the attention of both the countries "given our common desire to root out the forces of extremism and terrorism from our midst".

"Insurgents and insurgent groups have the potential to affect our relations," warned Mukherjee, who is the first high-profile Indian leader to visit Bangladesh after Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's landmark trip to New Delhi in January.

Bangladesh and India had signed three agreements to combat terrorism and cross border crimes alongside mutual legal assistance and transfer of sentenced persons and an MoU on power cooperation during Hasina's maiden India tour.

Hasina had promised not to allow Indian separatist groups to use Bangladeshi soil. Arbinda Rajkhowa, the chief of banned separatist group United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA), along with its deputy military chief were handed over to Indian authorities by Bangladesh in December last year.

Hasina, who survived a grenade attack on August 21, 2004 when HuJI activists hurled 13 grenades at her rally, has underlined her government's determination to root out terrorism from the country.

Hasina, who assumed office as Prime Minister in January after a landslide election win on December 29, 2008, has looked beyond her borders to tackle the terror menace by floating the idea of a regional mechanism involving all states in South Asia.

In the largest-ever loan India has given to any foreign country, New Delhi today signed an agreement with Bangladesh to extend a USD 1 billion credit line to Dhaka for developing 14 infrastructure projects, mostly in the communications sector.

The loan agreement was signed between the Exim Bank of India and the Economic Relations Department of Bangladesh in the presence of Mukherjee.


First Published: Saturday, August 07, 2010, 21:23

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