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Bangladesh finance minister AK Abdul Momen reaches India today; will seek New Delhi's help to resolve Rohingya crisis

Dhaka: Bangladesh's newly-appointed Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen will travel to New Delhi on Wednesday in his maiden overseas trip during which he will attend the 5th India-Bangladesh Joint Consultative Commission (JCC) meeting and held talks with top leaders.

Momen, who will lead a high-level delegation, said on Tuesday that during his visit he would seek increased Indian support to resolve the Rohingya crisis.

"I am visiting India on my first foreign trip to honour our great neighbour, the world's greatest democracy...among other things I want to consult with my counterpart about the early resolution of the Rohingya crisis as it may affect the regional stability," the minister told PTI.

 Bangladesh finance minister AK Abdul Momen reaches India today; will seek New Delhis help to resolve Rohingya crisis

File image of AK Abdul Momen. Facebook AK Abdul Momen

Momen said he expected enhanced Indian support in resolving the crisis as "it is likely to appear as an issue for the regional security".

Bangladesh has said it gave makeshift refuge to over one million Rohingya Muslims on humanitarian ground as they fled Myanmar to evade a brutal military crackdown but unless the crisis was resolved immediately it could expose the country and its neighbours to threats of radicalization.

Momen acknowledged that Prime Minister Narendra Modi was the first foreign leader to greet her Bangladesh counterpart Sheikh Hasina soon after the 30 December election results were announced.

"We always found them beside us in our crises. Indian people gave their lives for our 1971 independence," he said.

During the JCC meet, the entire gamut of bilateral relations ranging from trade and investment, security cooperation, connectivity, border management, defence cooperation, energy, shipping, and people-to-people exchanges are likely to come up for discussion.

"We have some issues as neighbours everywhere in the world have, but by now we amicably resolved several of them like the major maritime boundary and the land boundary and expect the others to be solved as well since we now enjoy the warmest ever relations," he said.

The minister did not elaborate the expected deals with India during his visit but officials said the two countries could ink five memorandums of understanding (MoUs).

"The two sides so far agreed to sign three MoUs and they could reach a consensus on another two by tomorrow," a foreign ministry official said, preferring anonymity.

He said one of the three MoUs involved cooperation of the two countries in graft investigation while the two others were over TV broadcasting and medicinal plants.

They said Bangladesh's Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) and India's Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) were expected to sign the first MoU, state-run Bangladesh Television (BTV) and Prasar Bharti would sign the second one and the two health ministries would ink the third one.

During his visit, Momen will call on Prime Minister Modi on Thursday morning and hold talks with his Indian counterpart Sushma Swaraj on Friday. He will meet former president Pranab Mukherjee at the latter's residence.

The last JCC meet was held in Dhaka on 22-23, October 2017 when Swaraj led the Indian delegation.

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Updated Date: Feb 06, 2019 10:05:00 IST