Water, transit to figure in talks
India will seek transit facility and greater cooperation in bilateral security from Bangladesh at the foreign secretary level bilateral talks to be held in New Delhi on July 17.
Bangladesh on the other hand will raise unresolved bilateral issues such as demarcation and sharing of water of common rivers and demarcation of maritime borders between the two countries.
"We have discussed transit in different forums. We are interested in transit and will remain interested," said Indian High Commissioner Pinak Ranjan Chakravarty following his meeting with Foreign Adviser Iftekhar Ahmed Chowdhury at his office yesterday.
Criticising the politicisation of the transit issue, the Indian envoy told journalists, "It's an economic issue, not political at all. Look at the rest of the world. I don't understand why this is being made a political issue in Bangladesh."
Asked whether his country has set a timeline for resolving the transit issue, he said New Delhi did not set any specific timeframe for Bangladesh to allow transit. "You can't set any timeline for this."
India's transit access through Bangladesh has been a sensitive issue in Bangladesh and India has been demanding the facility for long for a more economically viable access to its seven northeastern states, also known as the Seven Sisters.
Pinak said India and Bangladesh have some pending issues, but cooperation in bilateral security is one of the primary concerns.
"There are elements in both the countries who have caused certain security breaches and there have been bomb blasts," he said adding, "Connectivity [was] found between organisations here and there. So, we will be seeking greater cooperation on security issues so that both the countries can fight the menace of terrorism together."
Asked whether he has raised the issue of repatriating Anu Chetia to the Bangladesh foreign adviser, Pinak said, "We repatriated some Bangladeshi wanted people hiding in Kolkata. We also need to get some people back from Bangladesh."
"The name you mentioned has been there. But there are more names what we have given to Bangladesh government and expect that Bangladesh will catch them and hand them over to us," he added.
In response to the same question, Iftekhar told The Daily Star that he had no discussion over the Chetia issue with the Indian high commissioner.
"Pending issues like sharing of water and fixing river borders will be raised at the talks which will initiate talks over the important issue of maritime demarcation," he said adding that the issue of cooperation in bilateral security would also be discussed at the talks.
While putting the emphasis on resolving the issues, the Indian envoy said, "We will also focus on bus and train services as to how to improve the services and increase frequency.”