India Presses Bangladesh for Transit to Northeast

Dhaka, July 10 : India Friday pressed Bangladesh for transit rights to its landlocked northeastern states and assured that Dhaka has nothing to fear from this step as it was only for "peaceful purposes".

"There is nothing to be feared by giving these transits. Transit is only for peaceful purposes," India's External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna told reporters at the Bangladesh Institute of International and Strategic Studies.

He assured that if Bangladesh gave connectivity to India through its territory, a demand New Delhi has been making for long, the latter stood to gain in terms of market access to the northeastern Indian states.

Krishna said this when asked a question about apprehensions in Bangladesh that India would use the transit right to ferry weapons to northeastern states to combat insurgency. 

Krishna also dispelled the impression among a section of Bangladesh about anti-Bangladesh sentiments in India.

"Having being responsible for the birth of a nation, can we act against that country?" he asked. 

Krishna added that there were hostile elements on either side and stressed that it was the responsibility of the governments of both countries to convey the message that they would work together for development.

Stressing that "India's big size should not be held against it", he said India and its neighbours should not be seen as "big boat, small boat syndrome".

Krishna wrapped up his three-day visit to Bangladesh Friday. 

During his trip, India and Bangladesh Thursday signed a key pact to enhance mutual investment and Bangladesh exports as they renewed their pledge to jointly combat terrorism. 

Krishna's visit was expected to lay the groundwork for Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's visit to Bangladesh early next month.