After ‘No Problem Claim’, Bangladesh PM Sheikh Hasina Raises Assam NRC Issue With PM Modi

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Hindustan Surkhiyan Desk: Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, who is on a four-day visit to India, on Saturday raised concerns with PM Narendra Modi over roll out of National Register of Citizens (NRC) in Assam, an exercise carried out to identify genuine Indian citizens living in Assam and weed out illegal Bangladeshis. Government sources told news agency PTI that the Indian side conveyed to Hasina that publication of the NRC was a court-monitored process and the final scenario on the issue is yet to emerge.

The issue of Rohingya refugees also figured in the talks and the two prime ministers agreed on the need to expedite safe, speedy and sustainable repatriation of the displaced persons to their homes in the Rakhine state of Myanmar, officials said.

A joint statement released by the government said that PM Modi appreciated the zero-tolerance policy of the Bangladesh government against terrorism and commended Hasina for her resolute efforts to ensure peace, security and stability in the region. Both leaders reiterated their strong commitment to eliminate terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, and stressed that there can be no justification whatsoever for any act of terror.

According to government, PM Modi held wide-ranging talks with his Bangladeshi counterpart Sheikh Hasina on further deepening overall ties between the two countries in diverse areas including defence and security, trade and connectivity. The focus of the talks was to significantly expand the areas of cooperation between the two countries. Both sides want to boost ties in areas of defence, trade and connectivity.

“India accords priority to its ties with Bangladesh. The increasing cooperation between India and Bangladesh is a shining example of neighbourly relations for the entire world,” Modi said in a brief media statement.

After the talks, Modi and Hasina, through video link, launched a project to import LPG from Bangladesh for distribution in the Northeastern states, inaugurated a Vivekananda Bhaban at Ramakrishna Mission in Dhaka and unveiled a skill development institute at Khulna.

The joint statement said Hasina highlighted that the people of Bangladesh are awaiting early signing of the Teesta water sharing agreement which was agreed upon by both the governments in 2011. PM Modi conveyed to Hasina that his government is working with all stakeholders in India for conclusion of the agreement at the earliest.

The seven MoUs signed will provide deepening cooperation in areas of water resources, youth affairs, culture, education and coastal surveillance. Government sources called the MoU on cooperation in coastal surveillance radar system as significant for regional maritime security. India is expected to set up nearly two dozen coastal surveillance radar stations under the pact.

The joint statement said the two prime ministers held productive and comprehensive talks and agreed to fully utilise opportunities for advancing mutually beneficial ties in both conventional and non-conventional areas, besides noting that the “irreversible partnership” enhances the legacy that started with the great war of liberation of Bangladesh.

PM Modi and Hasina also agreed to expedite commissioning of the joint study on the prospects of entering into a bilateral Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) between India and Bangladesh.

(With inputs from PTI)

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