Resolve issues with Bangladesh, Tripura CM urges Centre

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Agartala, March 23 (IANS) Ahead of the Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s visit to India early next month, Tripura Chief Minister Manik Sarkar on Thursday urged the Centre to resolve all disputes and issues pending with the neighbouring country.

“Resolve the disputes and issues pending with Bangladesh. Unless we settle the pending disputes and issues with our good neighbours like Bangladesh, how will we improve our (bilateral) relations,” Sarkar said while addressing a summit on integrating BIMSTEC.

During Sheikh Hasina’s scheduled visit to India from April 7, many bilateral issues are expected to be discussed.

“In view of her visit, I have sent a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on various issues concerning northeast India. I will not disclose these issues now,” said Sarkar.

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The Indian Chamber of Commerce (ICC), in association with Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), organised the summit to commemorate the 20th year of BIMSTEC (Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation).

BIMSTEC is an international organisation involving a group of countries in South Asia and South-East Asia. These countries are Bangladesh, India, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Bhutan and Nepal.

Emphasising on improving rail, road, air, and telecommunication connectivity, Sarkar said underconstruction Kaladan Multimodal Transit Transport Project (KMTTP) would prove a great boon for the region.

“Besides trade and economic activities, sports, cultural, educational and tourism related activities must be undertaken with the neighbours for all-round betterment of the region’s people,” the Chief Minister added.

The KMTTP in Myanmar is being administered by Ministry of External Affairs with a view to facilitate connectivity between mainland India and northeast India through maritime shipping, inland waterways and roads of Myanmar.

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MEA Joint Secretary (BIMSTEC and SAARC) Prashant Agrawal told the summit: “The link between the northeastern states of India and Myanmar will pave the way for enhanced trade and commerce across the border and enable cultural and social integration at the regional level once the KMTTP is completed.”

“People-centric initiative, livelihood matters are vital and these must be dealt with on priority. In the ‘Act-East’ policy, neighbourhood is first,” the MEA official added.

Experts, scholars, thinkers, policy makers and administrators from Japan, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Thailand and Myanmar and representatives from various international bodies took part in the daylong BIMSTEC summit, fourth of its kind in northeast India.

ICC’s Joint Director Bodhisattwa Mukherjee said: “In the last five years, BIMSTEC member-states have been able to sustain an average 6.5 per cent economic growth trajectory despite global financial meltdown.”

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–IANS

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