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FM slates speculations on Dhaka-Delhi defence pact

DHAKA, April 5, 2017 (BSS) - Foreign Minister Abul Hassan Mahmood Ali yesterday urged all quarters not to be misguided by speculations and rumors on a potential Dhaka-Delhi defence pact and said 'time will make it clear to you all' very shortly.

"Please have patience ...the critics of the government are not saying the right things. If anything happen, it would be made open to you all," the minister smilingly said after he was approached for a direct comment on whether Dhaka is going to sign an MoU or an agreement on defenec cooperation with New Delhi next week.

Ali, who was accompanied by his deputy State Minister Md Shahriar Alam and Foreign Secretary Md. Shahidul Haque, said at a briefing at his ministry that a total of 35 agreements and memorandum of understanding (MoUs) are expected to be inked during Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's visit to India from April 7-10.

How come the question of mistrust arises when Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina represents Bangladesh in a negotiation table? he asked.

The foreign minister said the people of this country should not forget that Sheikh Hasina is a daughter of Bangabandhu and it was she who has taken this nation to a new height, with so many successes at home and abroad.

Ali said entire gamut of bilateral relations would be discussed during Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's visit, where a 40-member high-profile delegation would accompany her.

Several ministers, secretaries, officials of the prime minister's office, senior journalists and businessmen are included in the entourage.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and her Indian counterpart Narendra Modi are scheduled to hold bilateral talks at Hyderabad House in the Indian capital.

The majority of the MoUs and agreements would be in the areas of border hut set up, information and broadcasting, nuclear cooperation for peaceful purposes, science and ICT, satellite and space research, geological science, defence cooperation, Indian line of credit, community clinic establishment and energy sector cooperation.

Besides, the two premiers are scheduled to formally open cargo rail movement through Birol-Radhikapur route, direct passenger bus and train movement between Khulna and Kolkata, and imports of 60-mw additional electricity from Palatana Power Plant in India's Tripura state.

Sheikh Hasina will also hand over token 'war of independence award' to families of seven Indian armed forces members who sacrificed their lives during the Bangladesh's War of Liberation in 1971.

The foreign minister said so far 1661 such Indian martyrs were identified and all of them would get recognition and award from Dhaka.

Ali said Dhaka and New Delhi were enjoying the best of their relations now and it would be further emboldened with the prime minister's visit to India.

The business relations would be strengthened as well, he said and added that a business event would be held on April 10 for both Bangladesh and Indian businessmen to explore investment and trade potentials for both sides.

Aside from the events, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina would also meet Indian President, Vice President, Foreign Minister and Indian National Congress chairperson.

Source: Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha (BSS)