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India, Bangladesh hold comprehensive bilateral meet, focus on security cooperationnews
27 June 2007
Dhaka: The two-day India-Bangladesh foreign secretary-level dialogue ended here on Tuesday with the two countries discussing the entire gamut of bilateral issues, with special emphasis on security cooperation.

The two sides have resolved to share information in order to deal with terrorists, criminals and insurgents and help ensure peace and stability in the region, according to officials.

"It is to the common interest of both India and Bangladesh to jointly deal with terrorists, criminals and insurgents because it will neither help India nor Bangladesh," Indian foreign secretary, Shivshankar Menon, told at a post meeting press briefing.

He said that the meeting stressed enhancing security cooperation, particularly information sharing, between the authorities concerned. At the meeting, both sides reiterated their commitment not to allow their territories to be used in any way for insurgent activities, sources said.

In a joint press statement, issued after the meeting, it was announced that Home secretaries of the two countries would meet at a mutually convenient date to resolve certain issues.

The delayed annual meet between the two foreign secretaries also agreed to hold meetings of joint river commission for sharing of waters of the common rivers and work for quick resolution of problems concerning the demarcation of 6.5 km land boundary, which has remained unresolved for decades.

Acting foreign secretary, Touhid Hossain, led the 11-member Bangladesh side while the Indian side was represented by a nine-member delegation led by foreign secretary Shivshankar Menon.

The meetings were held at the state guest house 'Padma' located in the city.

Menon told newsmen that New Delhi agreed to provide duty-free access to products of least developed countries, including Bangladesh, in phases by December 31 this year, as announced by prime minister, Manmohan Singh at the 14th SAARC summit in New Delhi.

The two sides also signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to facilitate technical cooperation in the fields of standardisation, certification, testing, measurement and quality assurance system.

"The meeting also underlined the need to improve rail, road, river and air connectivity between the two next-door neighbours," said the joint statement.

On sharing of water on common rivers, the two sides agreed to hold a meeting at the earliest of the joint committee of experts, headed by water resources secretaries, to be followed by the meeting of the joint river commission.

The two sides also discussed issues relating to tariff and non-tariff barriers, coordinated  development of land customs stations, establishment of border 'hatts' and facilitation of investment.

An Indian Railway team will visit Dhaka next month to discuss the details of the operational modalities of the proposed Sealdah-Joydevpur train service.

Menon later called on the chief adviser to the interim administration, Fakhruddin Ahmed, and the Bangladesh Army chief, Gen Moeen U Ahmed.

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India, Bangladesh hold comprehensive bilateral meet, focus on security cooperation