NEW DELHI, Mar 22 (UNB): Bangladesh and India agreed to carry on high-level political dialogues to achieve specific economic and social objectives, as Prime Minister Khaleda Zia just ended her tour of the neighbouring country.
Both the countries reaffirmed their commitment to work closely to find mutually satisfactory solutions, whether it is an issue of trade, sharing water or security, said a joint press statement issued Wednesday at the close of Khaleda Zia's visit and consultation with Indian leaders.
During the three-day official visit to India, Prime Minister Khaleda Zia held a summit meeting with Indian Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh on Tuesday (March 21).
As part of the effort for regular political dialogue, Prime Minister Khaleda Zia extended an invitation to Indian premier Dr Manmohan Singh to visit Bangladesh. Dr Singh accepted the invitation with pleasure. Precise dates would be worked out through diplomatic channels.
The statement said: "Both leaders emphasised that implementation of SAFTA must be pursued with vigour to advance the SAARC economic agenda."
The joint press statement took a positive note of the outcome of the Summit meeting between the two leaders.
"They agreed that positive outcome of the summit would enable SAARC member-countries to achieve specific economic and social objectives," said the statement.
Besides signing two agreements on promoting trade and combating cross-border trafficking in narcotics, the summit also agreed that the meetings of the bilateral institutional mechanisms would be held more frequently to ensure movement in a positive direction and their outcome monitored by the political leadership continually.
The institutional mechanisms include Joint Economic Commission, Joint Boundary Working Groups, Joint Rivers Commission and Home Secretary-level consultation.
"Whether it is security, trade or sharing water, the two leaders reaffirmed their commitment to work closely together to find mutually satisfactory solutions," said the statement.
It said the agreements signed during the Summit were the revised trade agreement that would provide a framework for expansion of bilateral trade and the other agreement signals the joint determination of the two governments to combat drug trafficking.
Both sides agreed that the visit of Prime Minister Khaleda Zia to India contributed to further consolidation and progress in the already existing close and friendly relations between the two neighbouring countries.
The two-nation summit recalled that the Indian premier had met his counterpart during 13th SAARC summit in Dhaka last year while the current visit of Khaleda provided both the countries an opportunity to continue and sustain their high-level political dialogue.
"The visit is also testimony to the highest priority attached by both countries to the promotion of their bilateral relations in all aspects," the joint statement said.
During the visit, the Bangladesh Prime Minister held comprehensive discussion with her Indian counterpart on the entire gamut of bilateral relation as well as regional and international issues of mutual interest.
The discussions between the two leaders were underpinned by a common desire to strengthen and consolidate the friendly ties that exist between the two countries, based as they were on shared history and culture, and wide-ranging people-to-people relations.
As part of her busy schedule in Delhi, Khaleda called on Indian President APJ Abdul Kalam, Vice-President Bhairon Singh Shekhawat and Chairperson of the ruling United Progressive Alliance (UPA) Sonia Gandhi.
Speaker of Lok Sabha Somnath Chatterjee, Commerce and Industry Minister Kamal Nath, opposition leader LK Advani, state minister for external affairs E Ahamed and Chief Minister of Mizoram Zoramthanga also called on the Bangladesh Prime Minister during her sojourn in the Indian capital.
The joint statement said discussions between the two sides led by the two Prime Ministers were held in a cordial atmosphere--and there was a "constructive and forward-looking exchange of views".
The talks resulted in "greater understanding and appreciation of each other's point of view".
It said the two leaders expressed their satisfaction over the successful conclusion of 13th SAARC summit in Dhaka in November 2005.
Khaleda conveyed her thanks to the Indian Prime Minister as well as the government and people of India for the warm hospitality extended to her and the members of her delegation.