Bangladesh is expected to raise issues of trade imbalance, sharing of waters and border peace when Prime Minister Khaleda Zia probably visits New Delhi to hold talks with her Indian counterpart Manmohan Singh, reports UNB.
A Foreign Ministry official Sunday said although a firm date for the PM's visit has not yet been finalised, it is expected in the first quarter of this year--meaning within March.
"Things are moving slowly but steadily (about the visit)," said the official who asked not to be named under the briefing rule.
Diplomatic sources said the agency Dhaka has proposed two sets of dates for Khaleda Zia's visit-- end January to early February and late February to early March.
An Indian diplomat said, since Prime Minister Manmohan Singh would remain busy with US President Bush's visit to New Delhi in the middle of February, early March might be a convenient time for Khaleda-Manmohan summit.
Dhaka also wants Indian Foreign Secretary Shyam Saran's visit Dhaka to discuss the agenda of the summit meeting in Delhi. " We're seeking removal of trade imbalance, duty-free access of Bangladeshi products, sharing the waters of 53 common rivers and an end to indiscriminate killing of Bangladeshis along the border," the official said.
After initial hiccups in Dhaka-Delhi bilateral ties with the installation of new government headed by Manmohan Singh, things now look positive particularly after the holding of the 13th SAARC summit in Dhaka.
There had been some cold feelings between the two neighbours when India pulled out from the summit at the eleventh hour last February on the pretext of royal coup in Kathamndu and security concern in Dhaka.
On the sidelines of the summit, both Khaleda and Manmohan had fruitful exchanges generating positive spirit at the political level of the two neighbours. The Indian leader profusely praised the successful holding of the 13th summit and invited Khaleda Zia to visit New Delhi.
During the BIMSTEC ministerial meeting in Dhaka last month, Indian State Minister for External Affairs E Ahamed renewed the invitation to the Bangladesh Prime Minister, who assumed the SAARC chair at the Dhaka Summit.
Bangladesh, he said, always showed positive and good neighbourly attitude towards its close neighbours, including India, and sought to resolve all outstanding irritants through bilateral negotiations.
However, the official admitted that a quarter with vested interests always tried to vitiate the good neighbourly relations through media and other ways on occasions. "They tried to portray the present government as anti-India or pro-militancy which is a bizarre campaign against Dhaka."
As soon as Indian Prime Minister assumed office, Foreign Minister M Morshed Khan was among the first to undertake a trip to Delhi as special envoy of Prime Minister Khaleda Zia and handed him the letter of felicitations.
Since then, a number of ministerial-level visits took place and overdue meetings at the Home Secretary, Foreign Secretary and ministerial level JRC meeting took place.
The official expressed hope the two-nation summit would help deepen the friendship and mutual understanding and resolve the outstanding issues.