M A I N   N E W S

Bangladesh cool to Indian list of 200 terrorist camps
Rajiv Sharma
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, September 12
A high-level multi-ministerial Indian delegation is heading for Dhaka tomorrow afternoon for secretary-level talks at a time, when Indo-Bangla ties are none too good and Bangladesh has not responded to a long-pending Indian protest about more than 200 terrorist training camps operating in that country.

The two countries’ water resources secretaries are to hold talks in Dhaka on September 14 and 15 followed by Home Secretary-level talks on September 16 and 17.

Ms Neelam Dev, Joint Secretary (Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Maldives) in the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), who is a key member of the delegation, will also be using this opportunity to set dates for the annual Foreign Secretary-level talks between the two countries, official sources said.

It was some 18 months ago when New Delhi had given a list of, more than 200 terrorist training camps operating against India from Bangladesh. Along with this list, India had also given locations of these camps and other supporting documents.

Sources said there had been no response from Dhaka on this and the issue had been a major irritant in Indo-Bangla relations.

While the Government of India is still pursuing the terrorism issue with Dhaka through diplomatic channels, sources said the problem had not reached such a point yet that India would re-think about its participation in the next SAARC summit, which is scheduled to take place in Dhaka in January, 2005. Bangladesh is set to take over the chairmanship of SAARC at this summit.

In this context, MEA spokesman Navtej Sarna categorically denied a news report published in a section of the press here which said that India may skip the SAARC summit at Dhaka because of Bangladesh’s failure to address Indian concerns on the issue of terrorism. Mr Sarna said the news report was “grossly speculative and incorrect”.

The Indo-Bangla relations touched a new low when Bangladesh Foreign Minister Morshed Khan made provocative remarks at a forum, where diplomats, including India’s High Commissioner in Bangladesh Veena Sikri, were present.

Among other things, Mr Khan had accused India of inaction against alleged Bangladesh insurgent camps in India and warned that India’s north-easterns states were “ Bangladesh locked”.


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