JCC meeting later this month

Bangladesh and India will hold the foreign ministerial-level sixth Joint Consultative Commission meeting later this month to review the relationship between the two neighbours.

Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen told The Daily Star yesterday after a telephone conversation with Indian External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar.

The meeting comes after an unscheduled Dhaka visit by Indian Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla on August 18-19, which gave rise to a lot of curiosity among the public amid rising tensions between India and China since 20 Indian soldiers were killed in mid-June over border issues at Galwan Valley.

The fifth JCC was held in Delhi in February last year.

“We had a good discussion … talked about holding the Joint Consultative Commission meeting at a convenient time for both of us. We hope to hold the meeting virtually sometime this month,” the foreign minister said.

Asked on the issues to be discussed in the meeting, he said the officials concerned would work out and finalise the agenda before the meeting.

“We will raise our major issues and they will do theirs,” Momen said.

After the telephone conversation, Indian Foreign Minister S Jaishankar tweeted, “Warm conversation with FM Dr AK Abdul Momen of Bangladesh. Agreed to hold our Joint Consultative Commission [meeting] very soon.

“Will continue to work closely to reach the ambitious goals set by our leaders.”

An official at the Bangladesh High Commission in India said Foreign Secretary Masud Bin Momen was supposed to visit New Delhi preparatory to the JCC meeting, but that is unlikely.

“Indian High Commissioner [to Bangladesh] Riva Ganguly Das had wanted the secretary-level meeting before the JCC, but time would be a factor as she will also leave Dhaka soon,” he said.

New Indian High Commissioner to Bangladesh Vikram Doraiswami is likely to arrive in Dhaka soon, although the date is not yet known.

According to foreign ministry officials, the JCC will discuss the whole range of issues concerning the Bangladesh-India relations. These would include Indian Line of Credit, power and energy, connectivity and trade.

The issues of vaccine, air travel bubble (which allows flights only between Bangladesh and India) during the pandemic and the Covid-19 recovery plan may also come up as important aspects in the meeting, an official said.

The rising trend of border killings by Indian Border Security Force, trade gaps, and the Teesta water sharing deal are some of the burning issues for Bangladesh, he said.

Bangladesh also wants an active role of India in the repatriation of Rohingya refugees, the official added. 


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