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Friday, September 19, 2014, Aswin 4, 1421, Zilqad 23, 1435 Hijr

JCC meet in Delhi tomorrow
Dhaka for timeline on Teesta, land swap
Publish Date : 2014-09-19,  Publish Time : 00:00,  View Count : 28
Diplomatic Correspondent
The crucial Bangladesh- India Joint Consultative Commission (JCC) meet is expected to resolve contentious issues to take forward the bilateral relations, Foreign Minister AH Mahmood Ali said on Thursday, prior to his departure for New Delhi.
The third JCC parley is scheduled for Saturday in the Indian capital of New Delhi.
"It is undeniable that the present relations with India are profound. We want that unresolved issues are settled, which will carry forward the ties. That's a must," he said while speaking to reporters at the Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport in the morning.
Bangladesh, according to sources, would seek re-assurance from India during the meeting that its territory would not be used against Bangladesh, nor would Bangladesh would allow northeast  Indian separatists to use its territory.
The issue apparently emerged following alleged funding of Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami by West Bengal's Trinamool Congress which was diverted from Saradha Group to destabilise the Awami League government last year, according to an Indian newspaper.
However, Mahmood Ali parried a question in this regard and quickly said it is India's internal matter. "Let them handle it. I personally think so."
The Foreign Minister is on a four-day official visit to Delhi on invitation from his counterpart Sushma Swaraj.
The Bangladesh delegation led by Mahmood Ali is also accompanied by Foreign Secretary Shahidul Haque, Principal Secretary of Prime Minister's Office (PMO) Abdus Sobhan and five secretaries of Commerce, Shipping, Economic Relations Division, Power and Water Resources.
Foreign office sources said that Bangladesh delegation would seek a specific timeframe from India about the signing of the delayed Teesta river water sharing treaty and the Land Boundary Agreement (LBA) to swap 106 Indian enclaves and 92 Bangladeshi enclaves.
At noon today (Friday), the Foreign Minister is scheduled to meet Indian President Pranab Mukerjee and in the evening call on Prime Minister Narendra Modi. In the afternoon, he will call on National Security Adviser Ajit Doval.
In the morning, he will call on Indian Water Resources Minister Uma Bharati and Finance Minister Arun Jaitely.
The JCC meet will be held at Nehru Bhavan at 11 am. It will be led by Foreign Ministers of the two neighbouring countries, first such meeting after the regime change in Delhi.
The first JCC meeting was held in New Delhi in May 2012 and the second in Dhaka in February 2013.
The JCC meet will discuss entire gamut of bilateral cooperation, including security, trade, connectivity, power, water resources, border management, infrastructure, people-to-people contacts, culture, environment, and education.
Since 1974, the LBA has been awaiting approval in the Rajya Sabha, upper house of Indian parliament, while the Teesta water sharing was shelved after West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee's u-turn on signing the treaty in 2011.
Mahmood  Ali said his counterpart Swaraj's "stand-alone" visit in June within a month of the BJP government coming to power reflected the "depth and cordiality" of the relations.
It was a reflection of the "new dimensions" of the relationship after two more Indian ministers visited Dhaka within four months, he added.
Bangladesh side will focus on balanced sharing of 55 common rivers, arranging next Joint Rivers Commission meeting. Bangladesh and India signed only the Ganges water sharing treaty in 1996.
Ali said during the JCC meeting he would hand over a list of Bangladeshi products that face difficulties in Indian market despite having certificates from the Bangladesh Standards and Testing Institutions (BSTI).
A memorandum of understanding (MoU) would also be signed for affiliation of the Nalanda University of Bihar, he said.
The Foreign Minister and his entourage will leave Delhi for New York on September 21 to attend the UN General Assembly with the Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.

Editor : Iqbal Sobhan Chowdhury
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