Mukherjee to boost Indo-Bangla anti-terrorism cooperation

Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee underlined the need for India and Bangladesh to deepen counter-terrorism cooperation.

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

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

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.


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