New Delhi, May 3 (IANS) India and Bangladesh are likely to sign an extradition treaty and discuss an early signing of the Teesta water-sharing pact during Bangladesh Foreign Minister Dipu Moni’s three-day visit to India beginning Sunday.
Moni is expected to touch down in Delhi Sunday afternoon after hosting Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee in Dhaka for the closing ceremony of the 150th birth anniversary celebrations of Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore.
External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna and Moni will Monday co-chair the first meeting of the joint commission, which was announced by the two sides during Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s visit to Dhaka in September last year.
The two sides are expected to review the progress in implementing key bilateral projects and explore ways to deepen trade and investment between them.
Ahead of Moni’s visit, Indian officials held a meeting this week to review all aspects of economic cooperation and projects under the $1 billion line of credit pledged by India over two years ago, said reliable sources. They rejected media reports of delay in executing projects, saying techno-economic determination of these infrastructure-oriented projects takes time.
India is hoping to sign a long-overdue extradition treaty, which will enable it to prosecute insurgent leaders from its northeastern states like Anup Chetia, general secretary of the banned United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA). Chetia has been in a Bangladesh jail since 1997 on an assortment of charges, including forging travel documents, carrying a satellite phone and illegally possessing foreign currencies.
From Dhaka’s point of view, the top priority will be to push hard the Teesta water-sharing treaty which was expected to be signed during Manmohan Singh’s visit to Dhaka last year, but was blocked due to reservations expressed by West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.
Moni recently said she was hopeful that the Teesta pact will be inked soon and will discuss the issue with Krishna.
The delay in signing the Teesta pact has bred much resentment in Bangladesh and if it’s not clinched early, it could provide ammunition to anti-India sentiments in the neighbouring country.
Other issues like an early ratification of land boundary agreement will also figure in the discussions.