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Nirupama Rao prepares ground for Manmohan Singh's visit to Bangladesh

June 8, 2011 - Dhaka

Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao has said that she is optimistic that some historic agreements will be reached during the proposed visit of Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh to Bangladesh later this year. .

Addressing a joint press conference with Bangladesh Foreign Secretary, at the end of Foreign Secretary level talks between the two countries, Nirupama Rao disclosed that both sides have made very good progress on resolving issues related to sharing water resources and matters related to land boundary issues.

"India attaches the highest importance to its relations with Bangladesh and seeks a deeper and stronger partnership. The historic bonds between both the nations are deep rooted and peoples on both sides want mutual prosperity and cooperation," she added.

Nirupama Rao said both the countries are very keen on resolving the vital issues of militancy and smuggling across the border.

"We are against violence of any nature, we are against killing and every person's death diminishes us whether it is Indian or Bangladeshi; there is no doubt about that. Our Border Security Force and Border Defence Force of Bangladesh are in close touch and they are working out modalities so that we can obviate and eliminate any chance of such violence taking place," she added.

Further speaking on water sharing, Rao said the Teesta River project is an issue of high importance for us and both the countries will soon reach an agreement.

"On the Teesta River water sharing as I said the water resource ministries of the two countries have had some extremely constructive meetings and discussions to this, in fact the Secretaries were meeting yesterday in Delhi and obviously we are working towards an agreement on water sharing. The framework, the percentage of sharing all this form a part of the agreement," she said.

Emphasising that there has been regular exchange of business delegations, Nirupama Rao said: " This has resulted in several joint venture agreements being concluded for export oriented manufacturing activities in Bangladesh. Indeed, we are happy to note that Bangladesh exports to India have, according to our figures, increased by 52 per cent in the first nine months of 2010-11."

"I am sure that Indian investments in Bangladesh will provide employment and also generate export potential, including to India," she added.

She further said our cooperation in the power sector, including 250 MW of power at a preferential rate and Bangladesh request for setting up of a high technology joint venture thermal power plant of 1320 MW capacity is progressing well.

"Both sides are working on several projects to improve trade infrastructure and connectivity," she added.


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