India-Bangladesh Joint Statement
Joint Press Statement on the occasion of Foreign Office Consultations between India and Bangladesh, June 21-22, 2005 at New Delhi
1. The Foreign Secretary of Bangladesh Mr. Hemayetuddin visited New Delhi from June 20-23, 2005 at the invitation of Indian Foreign Secretary Mr. Shyam Saran for Foreign Office Consultations. During his stay in New Delhi, the Foreign Secretary of Bangladesh called on H. E. Mr. Shivraj Patil, Union Home Minister, H.E. Mr. Kamal Nath, Minister of Commerce & Industry, H.E. Mr. Mani Shankar Aiyar, Minister of Petroleum & Natural Gas, and H. E. Mr. E. Ahamed, Minister of State (External Affairs). During the meetings, both sides highlighted the importance they attach to their bilateral relations and their sincere desire to further expand, deepen and strengthen their cooperation.
2. During the Foreign Office Consultations, the Bangladesh Foreign Secretary was accompanied by Mr. Liaquat Ali Chowdhury, High Commissioner (Designate), Mr. Masud Bin Momen, Acting High Commissioner of Bangladesh, Mr. Fazlul Karim, Director-General (South Asia), Mr. Mohammad Mohsin, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Home Affairs, Mr. Elias Ahmed, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Commerce as well as other officials of the Government of Bangladesh. The Indian Foreign Secretary was assisted by Smt. Veena Sikri, the High Commissioner of India to Bangladesh, Smt. Neelam Deo, Joint Secretary (BSM) and senior officials of various Ministries and Departments of the Government of India. Representatives from the State Governments of Assam, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Tripura and West Bengal, also participated.
3. The two Foreign Secretaries discussed issues relating to security, peaceful management of the borders, cross border illegal movement of people, cooperation in water resources, economic and trade cooperation, investment promotion, cooperation in science and technology and agriculture, defence exchanges and cultural relations. The open and frank discussions on matters of common interest, were held in an atmosphere of warm friendship and cordiality which characterizes the bilateral relationship.
4. During the talks the two sides reaffirmed their commitment not to allow their territory to be used for any activities inimical to each other’s interests. The Indian side expressed its appreciation for recent actions taken by Bangladesh in the border areas. The Indian side stressed the importance of continued action, consular access and the need for regular exchange of information in this regard. In this context, the Bangladesh side also stressed the need for action against Bangladeshi miscreants and providing consular access.
5. The two sides expressed satisfaction over the commencement of coordinated patrolling by the border forces of the two countries. The Bangladesh side agreed to examine the Indian proposal for coordinated patrolling of the riverine boundary where feasible.
6. Regarding illegal cross border movement and activities, the Indian side reiterated its proposal for a high level meeting on this issue.
7. The Indian side emphasized its requirement for border fencing within and upto 150 yards of the international border. Bangladesh side stressed on the need to conform to the 1975 border guidelines and avoid any action that may impact adversely on the peace and stability in the border areas. Both sides agreed to facilitate repair and development works along the India-Bangladesh border.
8. The two sides look forward to the early conclusion of the Treaty on Mutual Cooperation for Preventing Illicit Trafficking in Narcotics and Psychotropic Substances.
9. Both sides agreed to strengthen measures to combat trafficking in women and children. India’s proposal to appoint nodal officers to deal with this issue was noted by Bangladesh.
10. Both sides emphasized the need for early convening of the Home secretary level talks to discuss the entire range of issues under their purview and carry forward the process of co-operation between the two countries in a constructive and positive manner.
11. The two sides agreed to continue discussions to expedite completion of the demarcation of the land boundary .It was decided to resume meetings of the Joint Boundary Working Groups (JBWG) to consider boundary-related issues in August 2005. Both sides agreed to address the issues related to exchange of enclaves and territories in adverse possessions as early as possible with the view to mitigating the sufferings of the people. The Indian side stressed the need for the early conduct of the joint census in the enclaves and adverse possessions.
12. The two sides discussed sharing of the common rivers and agreed to carry on dialogue in this regard. In response to concerns raised by Bangladesh Foreign Secretary over the Indian River Linking Project, the Indian Foreign Secretary stated that India would not take any unilateral action, which would harm the interest of Bangladesh. Both sides stressed the need for convening the Joint Rivers Commission in Dhaka at a mutually convenient time at the earliest. It could be preceded by a meeting of the Secretaries of Water Resources Ministries.
13. The two sides expressed satisfaction at expanding economic and commercial cooperation. The Indian side conveyed its sincerity to address Bangladesh’s concerns on the trade deficit, including through measures such as the removal of non-tariff and para-tariff barriers. In this context, the Indian side reiterated the importance of measures such as free trade agreements as well as border trade and establishment of border haats.
14. Bangladesh welcomed the proposed visit by the Indian Minister for Commerce and Industry to Dhaka. They agreed that the revised Trade Agreement could be signed at an early date. It was also agreed that the bilateral Joint Working Group on Trade, para-tariff and non-tariff barriers and on customs matters should meet by August 2005.
15. The two sides expressed their satisfaction that the text of the Bilateral Investment Protection and Promotion Agreement (BIPPA), acceptable to both the countries, is ready for signature at a suitable occasion.
16. The two sides discussed issues relating to improved connectivity in the region. They agreed to explore the possibility of commencing Dhaka-Guwahati, Dhaka – Shillong, Dhaka – Siliguri bus services. Bangladesh side also requested India to facilitate a Dhaka-Kathmandu bus service. Issues relating to improvement of road and rail connectivity between the two countries were discussed.
17. The Indian side invited a Bangladeshi delegation to visit in July ’05 to continue discussions on the extension of a US$ 150 million Line of Credit for infrastructure projects.
18. Both sides discussed matters relating to the tri-nation gas pipeline and agreed to carry forward further discussions in this regard.
19. The two sides agreed to increase cooperation in the fields of agriculture and science & technology. The Indian side offered increased training slots in India under its Indian Technical & Economic Cooperation (ITEC) Programme, including at its Institute for Training of Highway Engineers.
20. The two sides expressed satisfaction that a draft cultural exchange programme had been agreed upon and could be signed shortly.
21. The two sides stressed the importance of high level exchanges, including visits by Parliamentary delegations.
22. The two sides exchanged views on regional and international issues, including India’s candidature for permanent membership of the Security Council in the context of the reform of the UN.
23. The Indian Foreign Secretary mentioned that the Indian Prime Minister was looking forward to attending the forthcoming 13th SAARC Summit to be held in Dhaka. Bangladesh Foreign Secretary stated that Bangladesh would welcome him warmly.
24. The Bangladesh Foreign Secretary deeply appreciated the warm welcome and gracious hospitality extended to him and his delegation during their stay in India.
25. The Bangladesh Foreign Secretary invited the Indian Foreign Secretary to visit Dhaka for the next round of the Foreign Office Consultations, which was accepted with thanks.
26. The meeting concluded with both sides committing to remain positively and constructively engaged with each other for further promotion of bilateral cooperation for the mutual benefit of the two peoples.
June 22, 2005
Source: Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India, New Delhi.