India Bangladesh inch closer

India Bangladesh inch closer

DHAKA - Bangladesh today reassured India that it will not allow its soil to be used for any terrorist activities against the neighbouring country as visiting Home Minister Rajnath Singh held talks with his counterpart Asaduzzaman Khan on security-related issues.

Singh, who is here on a three-day visit, co-chaired with Khan the 6th India-Bangladesh home minister-level talks. The meeting discussed "all security related matters of interest including counter terrorism, capacity building and increased cooperation between security agencies, border management, countering illegal activities like fake currency, drug and human trafficking, consular issues", the Indian High Commission in Dhaka said in a statement. Briefing reporters after his talks Singh, Khan said security issues largely featured in their meeting, with particular focus on border management, cross-border crimes and illegal activities. "We had a successful meeting," Singh said in his brief comment. He did not join Khan for the media briefing.

Khan said Bangladesh reassured India that "we will not allow its soil to be used for any terrorist activities particularly against India in line with our zero tolerance policy to terrorism and militancy". He said India has extended all types of support to Bangladesh to counter terrorism and militancy. "They are now exchanging militancy related information with us," he said. "Discussions were held to ease travel arrangements between the two countries as well," he said, adding that under a revised travel agreement signed today Bangladeshi freedom fighters and elderly nationals would get five years' multiple Indian visa. Khan said discussions were held to make easier the visa issuance process for students and medical treatment seekers in India.

Khan said the Rohingya issue was also discussed and his counterpart conveyed India's commitment to extend its assistance for safe, speedy and sustainable return of these people to Myanmar's Rakhine state.India has offered to send more relief material and supplies to help Bangladesh deal with the needs of those in the relief camps. India is simultaneously working on a project to construct pre-fabricated housing in Rakhine to ensure the displaced Rohingya are properly resettled post-deportation.

More than six lakh Rohingya Muslims have taken shelter in Bangladesh following violence in Rakhine State in August last year. Yesterday, Singh held an "extremely fruitful" meeting with Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina when they discussed issues of mutual concern, including the menace of terrorism. An Indian high commission statement issued after the meeting said Singh sincerely thanked Hasina for cooperation in addressing New Delhi's "security concerns". The statement said Hasina agreed with Singh that joint bilateral efforts to combat militancy and terrorism yielded "special success".

According to a spokesperson from Bangladesh Prime Minister's office, Singh, without naming any country, said that the expected regional collaborative actions against militancy was not possible due to some nations in the region."After spending three days in Bangladesh I am heading back to New Delhi. I am deeply touched by the warmth and hospitality of the people of Bangladesh. Bharat-Bangladesh Moitree Chirojeebi Hok (Long live India-bangladesh friendship)," Singh tweeted before his return to New Delhi.