Foreign Minister AH Mahmood Ali speaking at a media briefing in Dhaka before heading to New Delhi on Thursday. Photo: bdnews24.com
A high powered delegation led by Bangladesh Foreign minister AH Mahmood Ali has reached New Delhi on Thursday afternoon to have the third foreign minister level meeting with his Indian counterpart Sushma Swaraj.
“The team has reached here and we are hopeful that this meeting will further strengthen the relation between India and Bangladesh,” said a senior diplomatic official at the Bangladesh High Commission here on condition of anonymity.
The team from Bangladesh, according to the official, is likely to ask India to fix a time frame to resolve all the crucial pending issues including the Land Boundary Agreement (LBA) and the Teesta water sharing deal. The two issues are crucial for the ruling Awami League government in Bangladesh, as both the deals have political significance.
The foreign minister level talk will be held at the Jawaharlal Nehru Bhavan that will be followed by the Joint Consultative Commission Meeting (JCC) on Saturday. The foreign delegation will leave for Dhaka on Saturday evening. “Immediately after the meeting, they will leave for Dhaka,” said the official.
Apart from raising the Teesta and LBA issues, the Bangladesh side will also review
security, trade, connectivity, power, water resources, border management, infrastructure, people to people contacts, culture, environment, and education in the much hyped meeting.
The 30-member Bangladesh delegation includes seven to eight secretaries from different ministries as well.
“Tomorrow (Friday) the delegation will meet President Pranab Mukherjee, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Finance Minister Arun Jaitely, Water Resource Minister Uma Bharati and a few others,” said the diplomatic official.
The India side will be represented by almost a similar number of officials from the ministry of foreign affairs, home, water resource and finance among others.
Amid protest from the opposition parties, the previous UPA government had earlier introduced the LBA Bill in the Upper House of the Parliament after which it was sent to the parliamentary standing committee. The Teesta water sharing issue has been shelved following strong opposition from West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.