12:00 AM, December 01, 2012 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, December 01, 2012

Call for stronger ties with India

All-party lawmakers' team in New Delhi

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Our Correspondent, New Delhi

A delegation of Bangladesh lawmakers drawn from the ruling Awami League, Jatiya Party and main opposition BNP yesterday sought to present a show of unity in strengthening relations with India.
They also wanted resolution of outstanding problems in a time-bound manner.
Addressing the media at Indian Women Press Corps in New Delhi, senior AL leader Tofail Ahmed said "things are moving properly as far as India-Bangladesh relation is concerned".
Pointing to pending Teesta water-sharing issue, Indian parliament's ratification of land boundary agreement, Tipaimukh project and border killings, Tofail said the problematic issues between the two countries have been identified but not resolved.
He said Bangladesh has addressed India's security concerns by handing over Indian insurgents and "there is no Indian insurgent in Bangladesh".
Tofail referred to BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia's recent visit to India and her remarks made in Delhi, saying "that means we are united, and terrorists would not be allowed to operate from Bangladesh territory ".
"We may have differences among our political parties but we are one today when it comes to strengthening relations with India," he claimed.
Senior BNP leader Moudud Ahmed said "We must have a good working relationship with India to resolve all outstanding problems."
The relations between India and Bangladesh had at times been "warm" and at times "cool" but they were never disrupted, he observed.
According to Moudud, Khaleda's recent visit to India "opened a new window for us by setting up the relationship not only between the peoples of the two countries but also between the parties".
On sharing the waters of common rivers between India and Bangladesh, Moudud said the non-signing of the Teesta deal has embarrassed the Sheikh Hasina government as much as the Indian government.
Both Tofail and Moudud voiced concern over border killings by BSF but acknowledged their number has come down considerably.
However, they wanted to bring it down to zero.
"We have been repeatedly assured by the Indian government about a stop to border killings, but the killings are going on", Moudud added.
Senior BNP leader M K Anwar said as far as Teesta deal is concerned, "the ball is absolutely in India's court".
Asked about Bangladesh granting India transit, Moudud said if it (transit) was mutually beneficial, then there should be no problem at all.
Replying to a question, Moudud said BNP is "actively considering returning to Jatiya Sangsad".
He said BNP standing committee members would meet either in December-end or the beginning of January to take a decision on whether to join parliament's winter session.

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