PM advisor counters BNP charge

Better connectivity does not mean granting transit facilities to India, says Gowher Rizvi
Published : 17 Sept 2011, 12:02 PM
Updated : 17 Sept 2011, 12:02 PM
Dhaka, Sep 17 ( – Better connectivity does not mean granting India transit facilities, says an advisor to the prime minister refuting BNP allegations.
"Previous governments also tried to resolve the disputed issues and misunderstandings between the countries, but they were not successful," said foreign affairs advisor Gowher Rizvi on Saturday.
He claimed that some unresolved issues had been settled in the last two years and that "many more will be resolved in future".
The advisor was recently criticised by a senior Awami League leader for lacking political skills ¬– a reason cited for the botched Teesta water-sharing deal.
Speaking at a seminar in Dhaka University, Rizvi said, "We are discussing better communication to Kunming through Yangon. We have started implementing this as we cannot deny connectivity in the present times of globalisation."
During the Indian prime minister's visit on Sep 6-7, the two countries signed a framework on regional cooperation alongside several agreements and protocols.
Following the publication of a joint statement, the main opposition alleged that it meant transit, though the proposed letter of content was not signed.
The BNP acting secretary-general on Saturday flayed the government over the deals signed during the high-profile visit, saying they were shackles of slavery.
Former Indian high commissioner in Dhaka Veena Sikri also attended the opening ceremony of the seminar on India-Bangladesh relation.
She said the visit of Manmohan Singh had brought the countries closer.
"At the diplomatic stage, the perception of the government and the people are not the same," she said and added that opinions might vary at the state and the people's levels.
Recalling the India visit of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman after that of then prime minister Indira Gandhi, Sikri said it was very significant. "And the visit of Manmohan Singh after 40 years carried almost an equal weight."
The India-Bangladesh Friendship Treaty over peace and cooperation was signed between the countries on Mar 19, 1972, for a term of 25 years, aiming at developing bilateral relation in various fields.
The 12 articles incorporated in the treaty include making efforts for peace and friendship, condemning colonialism and racialism of all forms, reaffirming faith in the policy of non-alignment and peaceful co-existence, maintaining regular contacts and exchanging views with each other on major international problems affecting the interest of both the states.
It also called for continuing efforts to strengthen and widen mutually advantageous and all-round cooperation in the economic, scientific and technical fields, and to develop mutual cooperation in the fields of trade, transport and communication on the basis of the principles of equality and mutual benefit.
The framework signed during Manmohan's visit is a similar one.
Incumbent Indian high commissioner Rajeet Mitter said the two countries during Manmohan's visit signed two protocols and eight agreements.
Foreign secretary Mijarul Quayes also spoke at the programme arranged jointly by the Centre for Alternative and India's Jamia Millia Islamia.
Toufique Imrose Khalidi
Editor-in-Chief and Publisher