India is eyeing to develop a robust military-to-military engagement with Bangladesh which would include selling defence hardware manufactured in the country, Indian foreign secretary Harsha Vardhan Shringla said on Monday in Dhaka.
‘Our on-going efforts to develop a robust partnership between our militaries emphasise trust of a higher order,’ Shringla said, adding that especially since we are willing to share with you any and all military hardware manufactured in India.
India is also open to facilitating training opportunities for officers at all levels in premier military intuitions in both the countries, he said while speaking at a seminar on Bangladesh-India relations on the first day of his two-day official visit to Bangladesh.
He claimed that the process of National Register of Citizens in Assam and introduction of Citizenship Amendment Act were internal matters of India, and ‘therefore there will be no implications for the government and people of Bangladesh.’
On signing of instruments on sharing of waters of seven common rivers, including River Teesta, Shringla said the two sides were updating data on water flows and agreements were expected to be signed by this year.
The issue on signing an agreement on Teesta ‘is very much on the table,’ he said and added, ‘The water secretaries of the two countries would meet soon.’
On Rohingya issues, he stressed the need for ‘diverse stakeholders to lower the rhetoric and find practical and pragmatic solutions’ to offer a conducive environment to encourage displaced persons to return to their homes in Rakhine State of Myanmar at the earliest in a safe, secure and sustainable manner.
While replying to another question on using non-lethal weapon on the borders between the two countries, which was committed by successive Indian prime ministers, Shringla defended the use of lethal weapons, claiming that criminal activities take place on both sides of the borders and border security forces require to defend the border as well as contain the criminal activities.
He also claimed, without any specific statistics, that the ratio of killing of Bangladesh and Indian nationals along the border was fifty-fifty.
Twelve Indian nationals were killed and 83 members of Border Security Force were injured in 2019, he claimed.
Prime minister’s international affairs adviser Gowher Rizvi was chief guest at the seminar jointly organised by Bangladesh Institute of International and Strategic Studies and Indian high commission in Dhaka.
Indian foreign secretary Harsha Vardhan Shringla separately called on prime minister Sheikh Hasina, foreign minister AK Abdul Momen and roads and bridges minister Obidul Quader.
Foreign minister Momen told reporters, barring any details, that during the meeting with Shringla, Bangladesh’s concern over the on-going violence in New Delhi was raised.
The Indian foreign secretary also held a one-on-one meeting with his Bangladesh counterpart Masud Bin Momen before a delegation-level meeting at the foreign ministry.
They discussed preparations of visit of Indian prime minister Narendra Modi to Bangladesh on March 17 while touching on other bilateral issues.
Several bilateral instruments, including one on creating an elephant-passage between the two countries, are expected to be signed during the Indian prime minister visit, Momen told journalists after the meeting.
On the recent communal violence in New Delhi, the Bangladesh side stressed the need that the communal violence issues should be properly addressed. Shringla said the Indian authorities were investigating the matter.
The Indian foreign secretary is scheduled to leave Dhaka on Tuesday.
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