From CK Nayak
New Delhi: Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh on Wednesday concluded his two-day official visit to Bangladesh with a stress on integrated sub-regional cooperation among Bangladesh, India, Nepal and Bhutan for rapid development of the region.
A joint communiqué was issued and both the countries also issued a 65-point joint statement on the concluding day which envisages entire range of bilateral issues and cooperation for future development.
Accompanied by Meghalaya Chief Minister Dr Mukul Sangma, Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi, Tripura Chief Minister Manik Sarkar and Mizoram Chief Minister Lal Thanhawla, Dr Singh also met President Zillur Rahman at Bangabhaban.
Leader of the Bangladesh Opposition and other party heads called on Dr Singh before his departure along with Tarun Gogoi and Lal Thanhawla. But Dr Sangma, Deputy Chief Minister Bindo Lanong and Cabinet Minister AL Hek stayed back to follow up on some important issues between Bangaldesh and Meghalaya.
The three leaders attended most of the official functions including Prime Minister’s address at Dhaka University. They also held talks with top Bangladeshi officials on promotion of tourism in the region.
Both sides decided to establish a joint commission led by the ministers of foreign/external affairs to jointly coordinate and oversee implementation of initiatives as well as to explore newer avenues for cooperation, including progress of activities under the framework agreement signed on Tuesday.
In the joint statement issued on Wednesday, the Prime Minister announced grants to Bangladesh for several cooperation and developmental projects and other initiatives.
About investment, Dr Singh said his country is keen to increase its trade, investment and cooperation in various sectors with Bangladesh, including power, in the future. Tripura Chief Minister
Manik Sarkar offered help to provide electricity to Bangladesh.
Dr Singh also stressed the need for mutual cooperation between India and Bangladesh for implementing effective counter-terrorism strategy between the two countries. He was appreciative of Bangladesh taking tough action against the terrorists.
President Zillur invited his Indian counterpart Pratibha Patil to visit Bangladesh at a convenient time. Dr Singh thanked the President for welcoming him and his delegation to Bangabhaban and assured him of conveying his invitation to the President.
In all his statements, whether to the media or at official meetings, Dr Singh made it clear that presence of the four chief ministers shows the sincere intention of India to cooperation with Bangladesh. The Chief Ministers were also specially mentioned in all the meetings by the Bangladesh dignitaries and were seated next to the Prime Minister as per protocol.