By- Correspondent | Date- September 6, 2011
Dr. Manmohan Singh, the Indian prime minister arrived in Bangladesh today on a visit considered to be historical for both countries.
During the visit, both India and Bangladesh are expected to sign key border and trade agreements. The two-day trip is the first visit by an Indian prime minister to Bangladesh in 12 years.
India and Bangladesh are expected to sign several treaties concerning long outstanding issues, the most important of them being the long pending extradition treaty, which is expected to enable legal hand over of United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA) general secretary Anup Chetia to the Indian authorities. The new treaty would also would help in the extradition of ULFA’s hardliner commander in-chief Paresh Barua if he ventures to enter Bangladesh territory, apart from other criminals and insurgent leaders hiding in Bangladesh.
The Indian Prime Minister is accompanied by the chief ministers of four Indian states, including Assam, Tripura, Mizoram and Meghalaya which border Bangladesh. The chief minister of West Bengal, Mamata Banerjee withdrew from the trip, reportedly over the water treaty of the river Teesta.
Mamata Banerjee is reported to have felt that India had agreed to supply too much water to Bangladesh. As per reports, there was difference between the initial draft of the agreement and the final version. The West Bengal government had agreed on sharing of up to 25,000 cusecs. But the final version talks of sharing 33,000-50,000 cusecs, which the Bengal Government believes would be off adverse affect to the state. As such, an agreement on sharing the Teesta river waters appears unlikely during the visit.
Another of the important pacts to be signed on border settlement is that of swapping of enclaves in each other’s territories. Thousands of people living on the India-Bangladesh border are hoping for positive news from the deal to be signed between the Indian Prime Minister and the Bangladeshi counterpart. It is being reported that there are thousands of people living in 51 enclaves who belong to Bangladesh but are geographically in India and around 100 Indian enclaves inside Bangladesh.
It is also expected that India would reach an agreement to use Bangladesh’s road and rail ways to foster communication to the land-locked north-eastern region. In return, Bangladesh would be given right of passage across India to trade with neighboring Nepal and Bhutan. Mentionable that India has already announced a huge loan of around 1 billion to Bangladesh to improve the neighbor’s transport infrastructure.