‘No secret deals with India’: Foreign Minister

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Dhaka, Apr 4: Foreign Minister AH Mahmood Ali on Tuesday said everything will be made public if the government signs any defence deal with India during Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s upcoming visit to the neighbouring country.

“If a defence deal is signed between Bangladesh and India, it’ll be disclosed…whatever the critics are saying is nothing. Nothing will be kept secret, everything will be made public,” he told a questioner at his ministry’s conference room during a press briefing on the Prime Minister’s visit.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina will visit India on April 7-10 next at the invitation of her Indian counterpart Narendra Modi.

The Foreign Minister said there are possibilities of signing 33 Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs) or agreements with India on various issues — border haat establishment, information and broadcasting, civil nuclear cooperation, science and technology, ICT, satellite and space research, geological science, defence cooperation, 3rd Line of Credit (LoC), community clinic installation and cooperation on power sector.

He said it is expected that the prime ministers of Bangladesh and India will jointly inaugurate goods-carrying train on Biral-Radhikapur route, passenger bus and train on Khulna-Kolkata road, and a 60-mw power supply line which will come from a power project of Tripura to Bangladesh.

Besides, the Foreign Minister said, Sheikh Hasina and Narendra Modi will jointly unveil the Hindi version of Bangabandhu’s ‘The Unfinished Memories’ and announce a joint declaration at the function.

He said the Hasina-Modi talks will be held at Hyderabad Guest House.

During the meeting, Mahmood said, the two prime ministers will discuss various bilateral issues, including trade, investment, power sector cooperation, interconnectivity, regional cooperation, Ganges Barrage project, water sharing of transboundary rivers, basin-based water management of common rivers, border issues, drug smuggling and human trafficking.

During the PM’s visit to India, he said, Bangladesh will award seven Indian soldiers who had sacrificed their lives in the country’s Liberation War in 1971.

The Foreign Minister said fresh initiatives will be taken to make the existing good relations between Bangladesh and India stronger through the Prime Minister’s visit to India.

Replying to a question on Teesta water sharing agreement, he said, “I don’t want to say anything whether Teesta water pact will be signed or not.”

Source: UNB