Bangladesh has ruled out inking any transit agreement with India during the upcoming visit of the Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh, here, even as it said a major treaty on rail and waterways will be signed to increase connectivity.
“No transit agreement will be signed during the visit.
We (however) don’t need any new agreement on transit either as it is not a new subject,” the Prime Minister, Ms Sheikh Hasina’s foreign affairs adviser, Mr Gowher Rizvi, has said.
Speaking to a group of newsmen overnight on the sidelines of an Iftar party, he said that no transit agreement was needed to be signed since Bangladesh and India already had bilateral trade agreement of 1974 that envisaged transit facilities through rail, road and waterways.
Asked about the tentative time to allow India to use the transit facility, he said at this moment our roads are not at all ready. First, transit through waterways will be operationalised, then railway and later on road.
But, Mr Rizvi said the two countries would need to sign protocols to make operational the transit facilities under the 1974 trade agreement while the two countries would also require signing of protocols to make operational Bangladesh’s offer to India to use the Chittagong and Mongla seaports.
Asked what was likely to be the outcome of Dr Singh’s September 6-7 visit, he said the two neighbours were expected to sign a framework agreement encompassing cooperation in different fields including water, trade, culture and education and a major treaty on railway connectivity in north-eastern Akhaura-Agratala and northwestern Rohanpur-Singabad routes.