Bangladesh-India maritime cooperation discussed

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NEW DELHI, February 2, 2016 (BSS)- Maritime cooperation were among the issues that came up for discussion during a meeting between Bangladesh Foreign Secretary Md Shahidul Haque and his Indian counterpart Foreign Secretary Dr S Jaishankar here yesterday (Monday).

Md Shahidul Haque arrived here on a two-day visit on Monday.

The Monday’s meeting reviewed the progress made on the decisions that were taken during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Dhaka in June last year.

Shahidul Haque at a press briefing told reporters that forthcoming meeting of the Task Force would take forward bilateral cooperation in the area.

He said the Task Force would identify the Indian and Bangladeshi ports and the sea routes which are to be opened for coastal shipping in ferrying goods and passenger services.

The foreign secretary said late last year, the two countries signed a separate MoUs here on coastal shipping comprising movement of cargo and cruise liner services.

Shahidul Haque said he had “very fruitful discussions” with his Indian counterpart on various aspects of bilateral relations including water resources management, trade, investment, power and energy.

The Teesta waters issue also came up for discussion with both sides agreeing to schedule a meeting of the Joint Rivers Commission at the earliest.

Asked if there has been any progress in efforts towards Teesta Water-sharing Deal, Shahidul Haque said, “Let us wait and see.”

Answering a question, Shahidul Haque said the issues of Bangladesh-Bhutan-India-Nepal Corridor and Bangladesh-China-India-Myanmar connectivity came at the bilateral meeting and both sides expressed satisfaction over the progress on the two fronts.

He said the third meeting on BCIM project will be held hopefully this year in India.

Offical source said both the foreign secretaries emphasised the need for stepping up cooperation between the border security agencies of both the neighbours so that no lives are lost along the border.

The two foreign secretaries also highlighted the need for strong maritime cooperation between the two South Asian neighbours.

With the decision on the international maritime boundary line being taken, it was suggested that both countries should be more proactive on the issues related to fishermen. The fishermen should be sensitised so that incidents related to straying into each other’s waters are minimised.

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