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India committed to cooperation: Natwar

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August 07, 2005 18:16 IST

External Affairs Minister K Natwar Singh on Sunday met Prime Minister Begum Khaleda Zia and conveyed that India was fully committed to working towards deepening and further strengthening the on-going multi-faceted friendship and cooperation with the people and government of Bangladesh.

Singh, who was accompanied by Foreign secretary Shyam Saran and India's High Commissioner Veena Sikri, handed over a letter from Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to the Bangladesh premier.

Dr Manmohan Singh had said he was eagerly looking forward to visiting Dhaka for the SAARC summit in November.

The summit, slated to be held at Dhaka in January, was first deferred due to the tsunami tragedy and a second time in February when India pulled out citing reasons of deteriorating law and order situation, a decision which did not go down well with Dhaka.

Also read: Natwar on 3-day visit to Bangladesh

After a breakfast meeting with a group of intellectuals, Singh told reporters that SAARC countries must work together to 'minimise their differences and maximise common grounds' and areas for expanding cooperation.

Singh said his visit was meant to 'remove misunderstandings' and enhance cooperation on all areas. "I will go back with the feeling that we are on the right track."

In an interview to leading Bangladesh daily Jugantor, Natwar Singh indicated India would go ahead with fencing of the over 4000-km long porous border with Bangladesh. 

"The fence we are constructing will help to check and curb illegal activities like smuggling, counterfeit currency and trafficking in narcotics and contribute to peace and tranquility for the people living in these areas," he said.

V Mohan Narayan in Dhaka
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