In a welcome development, Bangladesh and India have signed two agreements on extradition and relaxation of visa regime. The accords signed between Indian home minister Sushil Kumar Shinde and his Bangladeshi counterpart Mohiuddin Khan Alamgir should provide a fresh spurt in the Indo-Bangladesh relations.
It is beyond question that the two countries will be immensely benefited by these two agreements, if implemented in their letter and spirit. The extradition treaty, in particular, will enable Bangladesh and India to exchange wanted and convicted criminals hiding in each other's territories.
However, persons under the category of political offence are excluded from the extradition agreement. A fallout of this exclusion could be that the scope for deporting political offenders stands circumscribed.
The revised travel Arrangement (RTA) with the provision of multiple entry visa for tourists and medical visa for one year and the five-year visa for business people as well as other concessions to journalists, students, senior citizens is a step in the right direction. As a result, the people-to-people contact between the two neighbours will be expanded and relations strengthened.
At the same time, it could also help address another problem, the illegal movement of people across the international borders, between the two neighbours.
The mutual benefits from the accords apart, these will hopefully provide impetus to widening the scope for taking up other long-standing problems like formalising the border demarcation agreements, sharing of Teesta waters, putting an end to the border killings by the BSF and so on.
Any treaty is just a piece of paper until its contents are put into effect. So to make the most of the Indo-Bangladesh accords inked, both governments will have to be earnest and make persistent efforts to implement them.