'India, B'desh Should Work Together to Eradicate Poverty'

Bangladesh Foreign Minister Dipu Moni, who is on a two-day visit to India, today said that the two countries should work together to eradicate poverty, which is their common enemy.

"If we could earn our freedom in 1971 through joint struggle, India and Bangladesh can also join hands to eradicate their common enemy - poverty," she said at the conference 'North-East India and Bangladesh: Strengthening ties' organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII).

"If European countries can be united in their cause, why can we not be united for our cause?...We live in proximity, so we should come closer to strengthen our relations and enhance cross border trade," she said.

The minister, who arrived here today with a 30-member business delegation besides officials of the Bangladesh government, told the conference that the two countries should formulate new laws and liberalise their systems for mutual cooperation.

Stressing upon opening of new communication routes, she said, "we have opened Chittagong and Mongla ports for India, besides Nepal and Bhutan."

She said that there are 54 common rivers which flow through the two countries and joint policies should be framed to promote the livelihood of the people living in those river basins.

The minister also said that the five accords signed between the Prime Ministers of the two countries in New Delhi in January this year would be implemented in letter and spirit for development of both the countries.

The Foreign Minister said Bangladesh wants to create peace and development through mutual cooperation with India.

Tripura Chief Minister Manik Sarkar said that as part of it's Look-East Policy, India would have to build up infrastructure in the north eastern region and strengthen ties with Bangladesh.