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Paying heed to eastern promises

India and Bangladesh have had a long common cultural, economic and political history. The relationship between the two countries has faced some hiccups in the past. But the good news is that despite the general pessimism surrounding the current India-Bangladesh relations, the momentum in bilateral ties between the two neighbours appears to be improving.

India and Bangladesh on Monday signed two landmark agreements to extradite criminals and terrorists and liberalise the visa regime. The step has definitely paved way for better and friendlier relations between the two nations. The extradition treaty will enable deportation of hiding or resident criminals in both the countries. India has long wanted Bangladesh to hand over jailed ULFA general secretary Anup Chetia. Similarly, Dhaka has also been requesting New Delhi to locate and hand over two convicted killers of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, who are believed to be hiding in India.

Besides, if through this extradition treaty several other criminals, who continue to operate at ease  from each other’s territory are handed over to their respective nations, it should help curb the cross-border menace as well.

The other agreement provides for a friendlier visa regime for Bangladeshis. The new visa pact will remove restrictions on visit for each others businesspeople, students, patients, senior citizens above 65 years and children below 12 years on the lines of the liberalised visa regime between India and Pakistan. All these mark a noteworthy shift from the cumbersome visa process. This move will enhance ties in areas of security and people-to-people contacts.

The slowing down of economic relations between India and Bangladesh, coupled with strained and uncertain political relations, has been a cause for concern for a long time now. Since Bangladesh achieved independence, India has been its major trading partner. After this move, positive signals will hopefully be send out to both the countries to improve their trade and investment relations to boost their respective economies.
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