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India urges Bangla for transit to South, SE Asia

India urges Bangla for  transit to South, SE Asia
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Pranab awarded D Litt by Dhaka varsity 'Apart from the potential of its resources on land and sea, the geographical location of Bangladesh is an...

Pranab awarded D Litt by Dhaka varsity "Apart from the potential of its resources on land and sea, the geographical location of Bangladesh is an advantage that must be fully explored and exploited."A pranabDhaka (PTI): President Pranab Mukherjee on Monday presented a strong case for Bangladesh granting transit and connectivity to India, contending that this could pave way for greater integration in South and South East Asia. As India presses Bangladesh for the transit to connect its mainland to the north eastern Indian states to address their developmental and security concerns, Mukherjee stressed on transit in the larger context of this country's geographical location. He said that Bangladesh could act as a bridge between South and South East Asia. "Apart from the potential of its resources on land and sea, the geographical location of Bangladesh is an advantage that must be fully explored and exploited," Mukherjee said in his speech after receiving an honorary law degree from Dhaka University at a special convocation here this afternoon. "Bangladesh lies at the cross-roads of South and South-East Asia. It has once again taken the leadership in moving towards sub-regional cooperation," he remarked. Mukherjee explained that this would lead to practical results in terms of better water management, more electricity and grid connectivity, more trade and more cross-country movement of goods and people. "India and Bangladesh can lead the way towards greater integration within our region and beyond in South East Asia," he said. He expressed the hope that an early agreement between India and Bangladesh on the sharing of Teesta waters would be worked out as sharing of the waters of common rivers was a high priority. He also said the Indian government proposed to introduce a constitutional amendment Bill in the Parliament to give effect to the provisions of the 1974 Land Boundary Agreement with Bangladesh. "The sharing of the waters of our common rivers is a high priority for us. We have successfully forged agreements in the past and are hopeful of arriving at an early accord on the sharing of the Teesta waters," Mukherjee said while accepting the honorary degree. The failure to ink the deal on Teesta following opposition from West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and non-implementation of the land boundary agreement by Indian Parliament have remained the sticky points in bilateral relations which otherwise have been on the upswing for the last three years. Pointing out that India and Bangladesh have vast opportunities to increase bilateral trade and commerce, Mukherjee said India has taken the first step by removing quota and duty restrictions from all categories of imports from Bangladesh except twenty five tariff lines, allowing Bangladeshi products duty-free access to large Indian market.
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