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First Tipaimukh impact meet on Aug 27

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

/ Published by Simon L Infimate
Dhaka, Jul 24 (—The Joint Expert Group on Tipaimukh multipurpose dam project will sit for the first time on Aug 27-28 to study the possible impact on Bangladesh, says the foreign ministry. 

This was disclosed at the Foreign Secretary-level meeting between Bangladesh and India in New Delhi on Tuesday.

"On the issue of the proposed Tipaimukh Project on the Barak river, (Bangladesh) Foreign Secretary welcomed the decision of the government of India to convene the 1st meeting of the Joint Expert Group on Tipaimukh on 27-28 August 2012," the foreign ministry said in a media statement.

Tipaimukh dam project is a contentious issue between the two countries as Dhaka fears that if the project is implemented, water would be withdrawn and the Surma, Kushiara and other rivers in the Sylhet region would dry up.

Foreign Secretary Mohamed Mijarul Quayes went to New Delhi on Monday to attend the Foreign Office Consultation with his Indian counterpart Ranjan Mathai.

Quayes thanked his counterpart for reiteration that India would not take any unilateral decision on the Himalayan component of the proposed River Interlinking Project which may affect Bangladesh.

Land Boundary agreement

The Bangladesh delegation insisted that India complete all the legal processes at the earliest to fully implement the Land Boundary Agreement and its additional protocol.

Bangladesh and India signed the agreement in 1974 to resolve the demarcation dispute and later during the visit of Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to Dhaka last year, the nations also signed a protocol to execute the agreement.

The accord stipulates that it would not be in force until the countries ratify it. Bangladesh ratified the agreement in 1974 but India is yet to do so.

The headcount of the enclaves has been done and adversely possessed land identified and the demarcation would be settled when India ratifies the agreement.

Teesta agreement

Quayes in the meeting requested his Indian counterpart to complete formalities for an early conclusion of the agreement on sharing waters of Teesta.

Bangladesh and India failed to strike an interim Teesta water-sharing deal during the visit of the Indian Prime Minister in the teeth of strong resistance from West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.

Border management

Quayes asked Mathai to ensure maximum restraint by the Indian Border Security Force when it comes to shooting dead Bangladesh nationals along the border.

As regards the issue of security and border management, the level of engagement among ministries, departments and agencies is satisfactory, Quayes noted.

"He noted that the implementation of the Coordinated Border Management Plan (CBMP) by the BGB and the BSF had helped reduce cross-border illegal activities," the statement said.

The Secretary reaffirmed Bangladesh's commitment not to allow its territory for activities hostile to any country, including India.


Trade and investment between the two countries increased after India last year allowed duty-free access to all Bangladesh goods, barring 25 items on the negative list.

During the visit of Manmohan Singh, India allowed duty-free access of 46 textiles products and later in November provided such facility to almost all products.

With the access, Bangladesh's export to India crossed $1 billion for the first time, in the last fiscal.

"Both sides were engaged to resolve issues of non-tariff barriers, trade promotion and other related matters," added the statement.


Dhaka and New Delhi were working to agree on an arrangement to enhancing regional connectivity for mutual benefit, the ministry said.

Issues like Akhaura-Agartala rail link, use of Chittagong and Mongla ports by India, use of Ashuganj port as a transhipment point for movement of goods to the North-East of India, commencement of Dhaka-Shillong-Guwahati bus service were all parts of the greater initiative of connectivity of the countries, it further said.
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