CBI inks MoU with anti-graft body of Bangladesh

CBI inks MoU with anti-graft body of Bangladesh

Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj (R) shakes hands with her Bangladesh counterpart A K Abdul Momen (L) before a meeting at the Ministry of External Affairs in New Delhi on Friday. AFP

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) of India and the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) of Bangladesh on Friday inked a pact as the two neighbours agreed to step up cooperation in the fight against graft.

The CBI and the ACC signed the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) after External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and her Bangladeshi counterpart A K Abdul Momen co-chaired the meeting of the Joint Consultative Commission (JCC) in New Delhi on Friday.

Sushma and Momen witnessed the signing of two more MoUs, including one for the training of bureaucrats of Bangladesh at the National Centre for Good Governance at Mussoorie in Uttarakhand.

Momen, who was appointed as the foreign minister of Bangladesh last month, is currently on a visit to New Delhi. His meeting with Sushma on Friday was the first formal engagement between the two neighbours after Sheikh Hasina commenced her fourth term in the office of the prime minister of Bangladesh. Hasina's Awami League retained power with a landslide victory in the parliamentary elections, which was held in the neighbouring country on December 30.

Sushma assured Momen of India's continued support for “safe, speedy and sustainable” return of the Rohingya refugees from Bangladesh to Myanmar. She also conveyed to Momen New Delhi's appreciation for “humanitarian gesture” of the Hasina government in providing refuge to a large number of Rohingyas, who had fled from Rakhine State in Myanmar to Bangladesh.

The plight of Rohingyas drew international attention in August 2017 when Myanmar's armed forces launched the latest military crackdown against them. With hundreds of them killed and villages burnt down, over 7,23,000 more Rohingyas, including children and women, had to take refuge in Bangladesh. Not only the US government but the UNHCR too termed the latest wave of violence against the Rohingyas in Myanmar as “ethnic cleansing”. Talks between Myanmar and Bangladesh for repatriation of the Rohingyas have not made any progress so far.

New Delhi, however, was cautious and refrained from criticising Myanmar for the violence against the Rohingyas. It, however, also sent humanitarian assistance for the refugees in Bangladesh.

Sushma and Momen reaffirmed that New Delhi's relations with Dhaka — forged by India's role in the 1971 Liberation War of Bangladesh — had gone “far beyond a strategic partnership”. “Today it is anchored in history, culture, language and shared values of democracy, secularism, development cooperation and countless other commonalities,” they noted, according to a joint press release issued after the meeting of the India-Bangladesh JCC.

The two foreign ministers noted that India-Bangladesh relationship was now broadening to include new and high technology areas for partnership, such as space, nuclear energy, IT and electronics. They asked the officials on both sides to “develop a forward-looking roadmap for bilateral cooperation to make the partnership irreversible”.

They particularly stressed that partnership-building efforts should be enhanced in a manner commensurate with a commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the Liberation of Bangladesh in 2020-2021.

Sushma and Momen expressed satisfaction that both countries were working closer than ever before in every sector, from security and border management to mutually-beneficial trade and investment flows, power and energy, river water sharing, development partnership, transport connectivity, culture, people-to-people contacts.