Jaishankar in Dhaka on SAARC Yatra, holds talks



Indian Foreign Secretary S. Jaishankar, in Dhaka on the second leg of his four-nation SAARC yatra, met Bangladesh Foreign Minister Abul Hassan Mahmood Ali and other officials on Monday to discuss bilateral ties as well as furthering connectivity projects under a sub-regional grouping.

"We want more cooperation. We had very successful and constructive meeting," Jaishankar told reporters after the 35-minute meeting at the foreign ministry.

Jaishankar, who flew down here from Bhutan, also held foreign secretary-level talks with his Bangladeshi counterpart Shahidul Haque.

He told reporters later that the discussions focused on the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (Bimstec) and other bilateral issues.

"We discussed SAARC, Bimstec and similar bilateral issues. We had a very good discussion," Jaishankar was quoted as telling reporters after his 45-minute meeting with Haque at the foreign ministry.

Discussions in Dhaka are also believed to have focused on the sub-regional level cooperation involving Bangladesh, Bhutan, India and Nepal (BBIN).

Asked if the Teesta water sharing agreement had figured in the talks, the Indian foreign secretary declined to answer.

Jaishankar's visit comes as India has inched closer to okaying the Land Boundary Agreement for swapping enclaves within each other's territory.

Earlier, he was received at the Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport here by Haque and Indian High Commissioner Pankaj Saran.

He is to call on Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina later in the day.

Jaishankar, here on a 24-hour working visit, is set to travel to Islamabad on Tuesday and Kabul on the following day.

India as part of the sub-regional groping of Bangladesh, Nepal and Bhutan (BBIN) is pushing ahead with connectivity projects concerning power and transport.

India has already connected its power grid with Bangladesh to provide power.

The visit to the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) neighbours is part of India's emphasis on neighbourhood outreach. - IANS