India may use trade to make Bangla act on terror
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Annoyed with Bangladesh's failure to take action against terror groups acting out of its soil, the Government is seriously considering the use of trade-related measures to extract some deliverables from the current regime in Dhaka.
The trade measures to pressurise Dhaka would be discussed at a meeting with chief ministers of all Northeast states, hosted by External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee on October 31.
Although the meeting is being called to discuss how the Northeast states could benefit from India's Look East Policy, the security situation in states bordering Bangladesh would be discussed and the neighbour's failure to prevent infiltration would also be discussed. Incidentally, Union Home Secretary Madhukar Gupta left for a two-day visit to Assam and Manipur on Tuesday.
Over the last couple of years, at every round of talks at the Home Secretary level or the Border Security Force-Bangladesh Rifles level, India has handed over a list of fugitives, who it believes are holed-up inside Bangladeshi safehouses. While denying the same persistently, Bangladesh has promised action, but sought more specific information and wanted India to act against Bangladeshi criminals in India.
Though the current military regime in Dhaka is seen as more amenable to acting on India's concerns, there is a growing degree of impatience with the lack of discernible action on the ground in rounding up leaders wanted by India as well as winding up camps said to be used by Northeastern insurgent groups, including the ULFA.
Speaking to The Indian Express, Minister of State for Commerce Jairam Ramesh said: "Unlike terror outfits in Pakistan, whose operations can be directly linked to the ISI, terror outfits in Bangladesh cannot be said to have the active support of the administration. But unfortunately, we are yet to see action on our concerns."
Bangladesh's imports from India stand at about $2 billion, while its exports to India are just over $250 million. With India recently allowing Dhaka to export eight million pieces of textile over and above the commitments under the South Asian Free Trade Agreement, another $75 million worth exports to India can be expected.
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