Granting of transit to India a political decision: Dupo Mani

Protocols providing transit facility to India are likely to be signed during the visit of the Indian Prime Minister, Dr Man Mohan Singh, scheduled for September 6-7, foreign minister Dip Mani has said. Several protocols are expected to be signed during the visit of Dr Singh. Hopefully, we will be able to finalize them before his visit, she told a press conference at the foreign ministry on Monday. When Prime Ministers of both Bangladesh and India stated in the joint communique that all modes of connectivity will be established between the two countries, it became a political decision, she added.

She said that many aspects of the transit facility, including charges, infrastructure and procedure, were involved in implementing the decision. Transit facility could also be given to Nepal and Bhutan. A process is underway to fix transit charges, construct infrastructure and complete other related work. Transit charges would be fixed on a "win-win" basis for every country.

About recent reports on the Indian government's go-ahead to the controversial Tipaimukh dam, the foreign minister said: “The Indian Prime Minister and foreign minister have told Bangladesh in no uncertain terms that they will not do anything in the Tipaimukh area that could harm Bangladesh. If we have any such information, we will definitely talk to the Indian side.”

Dip Mani said Bangladesh has not shelved plans to build a nuclear power plant at Rooppur with Russian assistance. However, in light of the nuclear disaster in Japan following the recent tsunami, the government would first consider the security aspects of the proposed plant. Referring to the recent IA-EA meeting in Vienna on the safety of nuclear power plants, Dip Mani said that a workshop of national and international experts would shortly be held in Dhaka to discuss the safety aspects of the nuclear power plant. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina will visit Russia by the end of this year.

About Bangladesh’s permanent representative in the UN meeting Tibetan spiritual leader Dalli Lama in New York, the foreign minister said the meeting was unscheduled. “At international conferences, one may meet many people. Some of these meetings are scheduled and some unscheduled. As the meeting was not scheduled, there was no question of taking any prior approval,” she said, and added that Bangladesh’s firm stand on the “One China” policy has been made known to all.

Dip Mani told reporters that during her recent visit to China, the Chinese government had reiterated its promise to assist building a deep seaport in Bangladesh. The shipping minister, along with experts, will soon visit China to discuss the matter. The economic relations division has already initiated the task of formulating the project. About recognizing South Sudan, Dip Mani said Bangladesh has already proposed the name of South Sudan for the UN membership. Formal recognition of the newly-independent nation is under process, she added.


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