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Assam NRC to be key issue during PM’s visit to India: Media

Published: September 14, 2019 13:38:14 | Updated: September 15, 2019 09:57:47


Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is set to visit India during October 3-6 for talks with her Indian counterpart Narendra Modi, with Dhaka’s concerns about people excluded from the National Register of Citizens (NRC) expected to figure on the agenda.

This will be the first meeting between Modi and Hasina in the current terms.

Hasina secured a third consecutive term with a landslide victory in December 2018 while Modi began his second term in June.

India-Bangladesh relations have been strengthened under the two leaders, who have jointly lunched several projects, especially in connectivity, reports Hindustan Times.

Besides holding talks with Modi, Hasina is set to address the India Economic Summit of the World Economic Forum on October 4.

During the talks, the Bangladeshi side is expected to bring up its concerns that those excluded from the NRC in Assam could be deported, people familiar with developments said.

These concerns have been triggered by public comments by politicians in Assam, such as finance minister Himanta Biswa Sharma, who has said India will have to convince Bangladesh to “accept its citizens who had settled in India illegally”.

However, external affairs minister S Jaishankar, during his first visit to Bangladesh in August, told his Bangladeshi counterpart AK Abdul Momen that the process of identifying illegal migrants in Assam is India’s “internal matter”.

The external affairs ministry also said on Thursday the process of deciding the fate of 1.9 million people left out of the NRC in Assam is expected to be “fairly long” and they have the right to appeal to Foreigners Tribunals and higher courts.

The people cited above also said the Bangladeshi side is expected to seek India’s support for facilitating the repatriation of hundreds of thousands of Rohingya refugees to Myanmar.

The two sides are also expected to review progress in the implementation of development projects funded by India and the sharing of river waters, the people said. The two sides have strengthened anti-terror cooperation, especially the radicalisation of youngsters by terror groups, they added.

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