Positive talks in New Delhi
The positive note on which the long overdue Foreign Secretary level meeting between Bangladesh and India concluded in New Delhi on Wednesday is a welcome development. It is a reaffirmation of the oft-repeated intention of making dialogue the only means of resolving points of discord between two close neighbours. This will, as we can understand from the reports, set in motion a more comprehensive consultative process encompassing contacts at progressively higher levels between India and Bangladesh.
The fact that the joint statement came out a day later is inconsequential. What is important at the end of the day is that there was conformity of views on matters of common concern as much as there was the willingness to acknowledge the anxieties and perceptions of each other.
It is also heartening to see that as many as 26 issues have been addressed, that would in their own individual ways help enhance overall bilateral co-operation between our two countries. Noticeable is the fact that there are more matters on which the two sides agreed rather than disagreed.
No doubt the security concerns emerged as the major points of discussion. What was most encouraging was the very conspicuous attempt to face and address these concerns squarely and head on, instead of soft peddling or skirting them, hoping that they might disappear on their own one day.
Good neighbourly relations are built on the basic foundation of a shared willingness to acknowledge the genuine concerns of each other and being sensitive to the need for coming to grips with them. The most sensitive issue of border management must be taken up in right earnest.
The prospects for mutual benefits out of good neighbourly ties and co-operation are tremendous, and these must be fully realized to strengthen our relations further.
(China Daily 06/25/2005 page4)
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