India to extend $500 m credit line to Bangladesh

The reward is for Dhakas help to arrest LeT, ULFA operatives

India to extend $500 m credit line to Bangladesh

India is likely to announce the credit line during Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s forthcoming visit to New Delhi.

Diplomatic sources said on Sunday that India would offer the credit line for several infrastructure development projects in Bangladesh. Besides offering a cheaper price for export of power to Bangladesh, India will provide soft loans to its eastern neighbour to set up a connecting grid for transmission of power.

Bangladesh is keen to buy up to 1200 MW of electricity from India by the middle of 2012. An agreement for transmission of 500 MW of power from India’s eastern grid to the neighbouring country may be inked during Hasina’s visit. According to sources, New Delhi has also agreed to provide Bangladesh with connectivity to Nepal and Bhutan through India.

Hasina’s visit
Hasina is expected to arrive in New Delhi on January 10. Her visit comes a few weeks after the tacit cooperation between Indian and Bangladeshi security agencies led to the arrest of key LeT operative Thadiyantavide Nazir—who is suspected to have been involved in the 2005 terrorist attacks at the Indian Institute of Science in Bangalore—his associate Shafaz Shamsuddin and five top ULFA leaders including its chairman Arabinda Rajkhowa.

Nazir and Shafaz were living in Bangladesh; so were the leaders of ULFA that was running a number of camps and training facilities there.

The two governments have not so far officially confirmed that the LeT operatives and the ULFA leaders were arrested in Bangladesh, as there is no extradition treaty between the two countries.

According to the official version of New Delhi, they were spotted by the Border Security Force (BSF) personnel near the Indo-Bangladesh border in Tripura and Meghalaya. Later, the Bangladeshi sleuths picked them up before being handed to the BSF, sources said. The arrests are seen in New Delhi as a significant milestone in bilateral cooperation on security and counter-terrorism measures that received a boost after the Awami League headed by Hasina came to power in Dhaka in December 2008.

The two countries are expected to ink three treaties to augment cooperation on security and combating terrorism, agreement on mutual legal assistance on criminal matters, treaty on transfer of sentenced persons and agreement on combating organised crime and illicit drug trafficking.

*Soft loans to set up connecting grid for power transmission
*B’desh keen to buy up to 1200 MW of electricity from India
*Agreement for transmission of 500 MW of power to be inked
*B’desh to get connectivity to Nepal and Bhutan through India
*Cooperation on security and combating terror to be augmented

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