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Dhaka, Delhi agree to counter security threat from Myanmar conflicts

India also agrees to allow onion & sugar exports before Ramadan

FE REPORT | February 13, 2024 00:00:00

Bangladesh and India have agreed to collaborate on addressing the regional security challenges posed by the ongoing Myanmar civil war, Foreign Minister Dr Hasan Mahmud said on Sunday.

Briefing the press after his recent India visit, the minister also said that discussions on the Teesta water-sharing agreement would resume after India's upcoming general election.

"The central government has no objection to signing the Teesta deal, but a state government does," he commented. "However, we have agreed to continue discussions after the election."

Hasan Mahmud added that discussions on renewing the Ganges Water Sharing Treaty would also commence simultaneously, as the Ganges treaty would expire in 2026.

The foreign minister said that he had requested the Indian government to set quotas for exporting six essential commodities, including onions and sugar, to Bangladesh. This quota for essentials would help Bangladesh keep prices stable in the market.

"India assured us they would allow the export of 20,000 tonnes of onions and 50,000 tonnes of sugar before Ramadan," the foreign minister said. "We have requested them to increase these amounts to 50,000 and 100,000 tonnes, respectively."

Hasan Mahmud reported raising the issue of border killings during his meetings with the Indian National Security Advisor Ajit Doval and Foreign Minister S. Jaishankar. Both of them emphasised the need to put an end to such occurrences.

In this regard, both Bangladesh and India agreed to introduce non-lethal weapons along the border, the minister said, adding that discussions are ongoing regarding its implementation.

Concerning the Myanmar situation, the minister said that Myanmar would repatriate its security personnel who fled to Bangladesh during the insurgent attack in Rakhine State.

He, however, declined to reveal the specific date, citing "security concerns".

The minister said that Bangladesh cannot afford to shelter any more Rohingya refugees from Myanmar, as it already bears a massive socio-economic burden from hosting over 1.5 million Rohingyas.

He concluded by saying that the Indian leaders he met during his visit congratulated Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on her re-election for a fourth consecutive term.

They commended her leadership and expressed their belief that the already cordial bilateral ties would strengthen further under her continued leadership, , the minister added.

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