Monthly Archives: December 2011

Bangladesh army officers to get frontier training

Army officers transferred to Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) on deputation from now on must undergo a mandatory training course at the frontier as part of a massive reform of the border force since the 2009 rebellion, officials and reports said yesterday.

“The 20-day training for army officers who come to serve the BGB will minimise errors in future,” the mass circulation Samokal newspaper quoted the frontier guards chief Major General Anwar Hussain as saying in an interview.

He added that the army officers would begin their work in BGB after the training when they would have to stay at border posts for eight days to gain direct experience about the modus operandi of the border guards.

The paramilitary BGB soldiers are recruited directly, but officers at the higher command come from the army to lead the frontier force, which witnessed its greatest tragedy in 2009 from February 25 to 26 when 57 military officers serving the force were killed by rebel border guards
Killing spree

The rebels at that time had also killed eight civilians, eight fellow soldiers, who apparently were opposed to their mutiny, and an army soldier besides the 57 military officers.

A senior BGB official said previously army officers were sent on deputation to the frontier force for three years but under a new policy they would now need to serve there for a four-year tenure as part of the reform of the frontier force, previously called Bangladesh Rifles (BDR).

Bangladesh earlier this year renamed the force the BGB under a massive reconstruction campaign, also changing its laws, uniform, flag and monogram as part of desperate efforts to free the force from the rebellion stigma.

The new law or BGB Act suggests the death penalty for mutiny in the force while the previous BDR Act had prescribed only seven years imprisonment as the highest punishment for ordinary disobedience or breach of command as it apparently could not foresee possibilities of such a rebellion in the paramilitary force.

The provision of lenient punishment under the previous BDR Act required the trial of the “core culprits” of the 2009 mutiny under the country’s civil Penal Code for “murder charges”.

Hundreds of BDR soldiers are jailed as the trials of the rebel border guards are underway in 11 special paramilitary courts on charges of violating the command chain.

The “core culprits” of the carnage who were directly linked to the killings, looting and arson during the mutiny are being tried in the Dhaka Sessions Judge’s Court on charges of masterminding the mutiny, killing the army officers, taking their families hostage, arson, looting and attempt to conceal marks of their crimes.

Tripura varsity to confer honorary D.Litt to Hasina

Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina would be conferred honorary Doctorate of Literature by the Tripura Central University in its ninth convocation to be held here on January 12. “Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has consented to participate in the convocation and receive the honorary D.Litt,” Vice Chancellor Arunoday Saha told PTI. She would arrive here on January 12 from Dhaka and leave for Bangladesh the next day, he said. Vice President of India Hamid Ansari has also given his consent to attend the convocation, Saha said. Earlier, Chief Minister Manik Sarkar and Governor D Y Patil, also Rector of the university, had met Sheikh Hasina in Dhaka and invited her to visit Tripura.

Bangladesh Festival from December 16

A five day Bangladesh Festival with focus on music, culture and food will be held in the city from December 16 to celebrate 40 years of the country’s Liberation War. A group of around 30-35 artistes from Dhaka will be in the city to perform for the annual festival, Bangladesh Deputy High Commissioner Md Mustafizur Rahman told reporters today. An added attraction will be artistes from Lalon Academy of Kushtia in Bangladesh who will present soulful songs of the famous eighteenth century poet-philosopher Fakir Lalon Shah, on whom the recent Bengali blockbuster ‘Moner Manush’ was based. On the first day of the festival on Friday, which is the Independence Day of Bangladesh, artistes will perform patriotic songs. Prominent visiting artistes from the neighbouring country include singers Farida Parveen, Khayrul Aanam Shakeel, Fahmida Nabi and rock singer Ayub Bachchu and his band LRB, Rahman said. Kolkata artistes like Shraboni Sen and Lopamudra Mitra would also woo the audience with modern songs. About 30 stalls will be put up at the carnival, where Kolkatans can buy Bangladeshi saris, handicrafts and also savour the famous Hilsa fish. The festival will be inaugurated by Bangladesh’s Deputy Speaker in Parliament Soukat Ali and West Bengal Commerce and Industries Minister Partha Chatterjee, he added. Bangladesh Deputy High Commission had organised a three-day film festival ‘Bangladesh War of Liberation in Celluloid’ last week to pay tribute to the martyrs of the 1971 war.

BANGLADESH: “Invisible hazard” of groundwater depletion

DHAKA, 13 December 2011 (IRIN) – Experts warn rapid depletion of Bangladesh’s underground water table could jeopardize food and water security for millions throughout the country and also endanger the biodiversity of one of the world’s largest mangrove forests within the next two decades.

“We have been drawing groundwater recklessly. Since 2004 groundwater in Bangladesh has not been recharging,” said Eftekhar Alam of the Bangladesh agricultural development corporation, an autonomous body under the Ministry of Agriculture.

Groundwater, unlike surface water such as ponds, lakes and rivers, is located in water tables beneath the ground which are recharged by seepage from rainfall; groundwater forms about 20 percent of the earth’s freshwater supply.

In the past the Bangladeshi government and researchers have promoted use of groundwater for irrigation to combat seasonal food insecurity among farmers who were otherwise dependent on the timing of monsoon rains for their harvest.

Dry season irrigation provided by groundwater is used for 80 percent of Boro rice cultivation – also known as winter rice – which made up almost 60 percent of the country’s annual grain production in 2007-2008.

During the peak of the dry season from March to April, 63 percent of the country’s irrigation comes from groundwater extraction by shallow tube wells, said Alam.

Overreliance

Overemphasizing groundwater extraction has created its own problems, he added.

Excessive reliance on groundwater versus surface water has been blamed for a 2010 water shortage in the capital of 46.7 million people (Dhaka) when troops had to guard water pumps to ration use.

Alam’s studies show Bangladesh’s groundwater is being extracted at the rate of 53 billion cubic metres a year, while it is only being recharged by 50 billion cubic metres. He and other experts say this will have two worrying long-term consequences.

First, shallow tube wells which typically go no deeper than 20m into the ground (used throughout the country by farmers and the general population for small-scale irrigation and drinking) will start to go dry as water levels fall below the depth the tube wells are able to reach.

Second, as the groundwater level drops below sea level there will be saltwater intrusion, with water from the Indian Ocean moving in to fill the underground vacuum.

According to Alam, the area nationwide where shallow tube-wells go completely dry during the peak of the dry season from March-April has increased by 45 percent from 6,664sqkm in 2004 to 9,638sqkm in 2010.

But it is the impact of salination that most concerns him.

“Dhaka’s underground will be fully swamped with saline water. When people break the earth for water, all they will find is saltwater. Fifty million throughout the country will be affected,” he told IRIN, basing his estimate on the numbers of people who live in areas that may be affected, including the population of Dhaka where 97 percent of water demands are met by groundwater.

“The entire ecosystem and biodiversity of southern Bangladesh will be threatened,” he concluded.

Southern Bangladesh is home to the Sundarbans the world’s largest mangrove forest and a UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) World Heritage Site.

“If the situation is not controlled this will happen within one or two decades,” Alam added.

Invisible hazard

Groundwater is replenished by rainfall, and, to a lesser extent, river seepage. Forecasts are bleak said Umme Kulsum Navera, a lecturer at the Bangladesh university of engineering and technology in Dhaka.

“Our rivers are drying up too. And our models show [at] that point rainfall will increase. This means that there will be a lot of rainfall within a short time, then no rain for a long time. This does not recharge groundwater, as the rain will mostly flow overland,” she told IRIN.

“This will eventually lead to a lot of problems for irrigation in the future,” she added.

“Bangladesh faces natural disasters like floods, cyclones, and storm surges regularly,” noted Alam. “These hazards are visible. But [groundwater depletion] is invisible and happening beneath the surface of the earth.”

Bangladeshi Minister of Agriculture Matia Chowdhury has suggested growing fewer water-consuming crops and developing saline-tolerant rice varieties in response to the looming emergency.

Alam proposes maximizing use of surface water by digging canals and dredging rivers.

Navera said few farmers are aware of how excessive current groundwater withdrawal will present problems in the future. “They know that there will be no water in the winter, they know that much.”

ms/pt/cb

Oil spill seen in the Bay

A 10-kilometre oil slick was reported in the Bay off the district’s Sitakunda upazila yesterday.

Boatmen and passengers crossing the area in the morning said they had noticed the strip which was around 50 feet wide and spreading to Kadam Rasul from Kumira coast.

Both the reason and the severity of the spillage so far remained unconfirmed.

Mohammad Ilias, supervisor of Banglar Alo, an engine-run ferryboat that operates on the sea route, told The Daily Star over mobile phone that he had noticed black burnt oil floating around 11:00am.

“The tide has just begun. With water rushing towards the beach, the floating oil would spread to Kadam Rasul through Baro Aulia coast,” he said, adding the slick could be around 10km long.

Mannan Cherag, a Banglar Alo boatman who also saw the slick, said he often notices oil spills there but yesterday’s was the longest.

Visiting the spot by engine boats, The Daily Star correspondents found the strip.

Boatmen, fishermen and people travelling between Sandwip and Chittagong said they often see oil spills, for what they blame the ship-breaking industry.

There are over 50 ship-breaking yards next to the coast and more than 100 vessels are beached there for dismantling.

Nurul Absar Chowdhury, former chairman of Amanullah Union Parishad in Sandwip and now a Chittagong resident, regularly travels to his village home in the island through the route.

“I usually get on engine boat at Kumira ghat and there is a ship-breaking yard nearby,” he said.

He often notices black oil-like substance floating in the sea and suspects the ship-breaking yards to be its source.

Hefazatur Rahman, president of Bangladesh Ship Breakers’ Association, brushed aside the suggestion that scrap ships caused oil spill in the sea.

Oil might have leaked from tankers that travel to different parts of the country from the Chittagong port, he said.

“A spill of such magnitude could originate only from oil tankers. But we haven’t brought any oil tanker recently. The last time we brought ships was one and a half months ago. Those were scrap vessels, not oil tankers.”

He said they had heard about the slick and sent a team to the area. “But our team hasn’t spotted anything yet.”

Contacted, Zafar Alam, an Environment department director based in the port city, said they had inspected the area in the afternoon and noticed no major spill.

They saw a 100-metre layer of oil floating between Kadam Rasul and Kumira, but could not identify its source, he said.

Bangladesh to stage first transgender reality TV show

Bangladesh looks set to get its first TV reality show for transgender people, which programme makers hope will end taboos associated with gender and sexual issues.

The show will go out on ATN Bangla, a Bengali-language digital cable channel, which transmits from Dhaka.
According to the news agency AFP, “Across South Asia, hijra communities of transvestites, eunuchs and asexual people are among the most marginalised groups in traditionally conservative societies.”
The show, called Amra Tomadery (“We Are for You”), “is now accepting applications to be one of around 40 contestants who will showcase their dancing and acting skills to win audience votes,” says AFP.
The show’s producer Mokaddem Babu is quoted as saying: “The aim is to end the taboos that are associated with hijras. Hijras are our sons or our daughters, yet we treat them as if they are not part of us. The show wants to break down these barriers.”
Hijras in South Asian culture are traditionally physiological males with female gender identity. Many live in their own defined communities.
The glbtq.com website says of hijras that they are “men who dress and act like women” and who “have been a presence in India for generations. Within South Asian society they maintain a third-gender role that has become institutionalized through tradition.”

Bangladesh Air Force inducts air defence missiles

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina yesterday asked members of the Bangladesh Air Force to remain always ready imbued with patriotism to safeguard the country’s independence and sovereignty.

She gave the directive while addressing the induction ceremony of surface-to-air missile system and Bangabandhu Aeronautical Centre at Kurmitola Air Force Base in the morning.

The Chinese government extended cooperation in installing the system and setting up the centre.

The missile system of FM-90 category is a short-range air defence system (SRADS). This is an advanced all weather surface-to-air defence weapon which is capable of engaging targets flying at low or very low altitude. It has high skill probability and impressive

engagement capability at very low altitude. It has also very short reaction time.

The system can engage aircraft, helicopters, and precision-guided weapons including cruise missiles, technical air-to-ground missiles and anti-radiation missile.

The FM-90 weapon system is mainly used for the protection of key instalments, such as, airfield and aerodrome facilities, command control communication centres, bridges etc and it can also provide air defence for fielded force.

Addressing the function, the premier, who is also in charge of the defence ministry, said her government is working to build the Air Force as a modern, skilled and strong force in line with the Vision 2021.

Later, Hasina addressed the officers of the Air Force saying that there is no alternative to having an effective Air Force to protect the independence and sovereignty of the motherland.

She said one squadron F-7 BGI fighter planes and some other helicopters are going to be included in the arsenal of the Air Force. Besides, procurement of several transport aircraft is also under consideration of the government.

The prime minister said though Bangladesh Air Force would not be able to repair the damaged aircraft and helicopters, they can make light tools of aircraft at the aeronautical centre which would save huge amount of money.

She hoped that the centre would make prototype of light aircrafts by 2021. “I also hope that you would one day make aircraft, helicopters and radars in the country.”

Paying rich tributes to all the martyrs of 1971 Liberation War, including members of the Air Force, she said every member of the Air Force must know the real history of the emergence of Bangladesh under the leadership of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.

“When you would know the real history, your confidence level would go up. Only a confident nation can achieve its all cherished development goals,” she said.

Earlier, on her arrival at the force’s base, Air Force Base Air Vice-Marshal Shah Md Ziaur Rahman received her. A smartly turned out contingent of the Air Force gave her salute when she watched the missile parade. The force’s pilots also welcomed the prime minister with a spectacular fly past.

Planning Minister Air Vice-Marshal (Retd) AK Khandker, Home Minister Sahara Khatun, Foreign Minister Dipu Moni, State Minister for Liberation War Affairs Captain (Retd) AB Tajul Islam, Advisers to the Prime Minister Maj Gen (Retd) Tarique Ahmed Siddique and HT Imam, and high military and government officials and foreign diplomats were present.

Bangladesh Power Generation to Hit 8,000 MW by 2013

The most thirsty sector of Bangladesh -Power is growing towards satisfaction of Nation .Minister of Finance AMA Muhith said the government wouldensure supply of electricity for 60 per cent citizens of the country by the end of the tenure of Awami League ledalliance rule in 2013.

“The country will be able to achieve the capacity of generating electricity over 9000 megawatt the demand of 8000 mw in 2013″ he added.

AMA Muhith said the country will be able to generate electricity about 25000 mw in 2021 and the electricity connection would be-available at each of the citizen houses. The country’s Gross Domestic Product(GDP) will be 8 to 9 per cent at the end of 2013 for better power supply, he said.

Criticizing the economists who are against rental power plant Muhith said without quick rental and rental power plant the demand of electricity for the growing economy could not be met.

The Minister’s allusion, agreement for three years of purchasing electricity from rental power plants may be extended for another two years.

AMA Muhith has made the comment as chief guest during inaugurating ‘Electricity Week-2011′ in Bangabandhu International ConferenceCentre (BICC) on Wednesday morning.

Adviser to Prime Minister on Power, Energy and Mineral Resources Ministry Dr Tawfiq e Elahi Chowdhury BB, State Minister of the same ministry Enamul Haque MP and Secretary of mineral resources division Mesbah Uddin addressed the function as special guests. Presided over by additional secretary of power ministry Tapos Kumar Roy, chairman of Rural Electrification Board (REB) Brig Gen Moin Uddin, Director General of power cell Mahbub e SarwarKainath and Chairman of Summit Group Abdul Aziz Khan also spoke on the occasion, among others.

AMA Muhith also said electricity is the first priority for development. The country will get healthy economy during handing over the power of the present government.

The government should lay emphasis use of fossil fuel including gas and coal for generating electricity in future. Condemning some intellectuals who are opposing coal-based power plant the minister said without any pollution generating electricity is quite impossible. For the greatest national interest we have to consider increasing coal based power with a limited pollution.

Giving example of China, India, Brazil, USA and Australia Finance Minister Muhith said those countries are generating huge electricity from coal-based power plant. Coal and gas export is quite impossible for Bangladesh, Muhith said.

The slogan of electricity week of this year is”Economic use of electricity will help en kindle every house”. The week is being observed across the country from December 7 to 11 in befitting manner.

The Ministry of Power, Energy and Mineral Resources has awarded 49 persons and institutions in seven categories including journalists,researchers, customers and employees of the ministry for their extraordinarycontribution in the power sector.

Awarded journalists are Nazmul Imam, special correspondentof Samakal from print media and Akter Hossain of Rtv from electronic media forbest reporting in their respective fields.

Bangladesh clothing industry hit by European woes

China’s current willingness to help the European economy is down to one factor – trade issues.

And with the European economy in trouble other Asian countries may also be feel the squeeze.

In Bangladesh the clothing industry is already facing problems.

It depends heavily on exports to the EU countries and millions of people are employed in the industry.

The BBC’s Bangladesh correspondent Anbarasan Ethirajan looks more closely at the issues.

BANGLADESH: State appears bankrupt in protecting rights

Sources : A Statement by the Asian Human Rights Commission on the Occasion of the International Human Rights Day, December 10, 2011

International Human Rights Day is going to be ‘observed’ in Bangladesh amidst numerous victims facing gross abuses of human rights without an access to legal remedies from the existing criminal justice system. On the eve of the Human Rights Day the Asian Human Rights Commission has launched the annual human rights situation report on Bangladesh for the year 2011. The report titled BANGLADESH: Rulers establish an illusion of rule of law and democracy to deprive people by all means is available online at the website of the AHRC: www.humanrights.asia. The prevailing situation appears to be much worse than what has been documented by the AHRC and included in the report. A finalised printed version of the report will be available by the end of the year.

Sadly, the AHRC has to reiterate that the incidents of enforced disappearance, custodial torture, extrajudicial killings, secret killings, illegal arrest, arbitrary detention and fabricating charges against persons by State agents continue and even set new records in terms of the gravity of the problems. The judicial institutions were found engaged in keeping and hunting lucrative jobs, and hardly dare to provide an effective sustainable remedy against State-sponsored abuses. The institutions provisioned for registering complaints, prosecuting the perpetrators and holding a fair trial for ensuring justice do not function at all.

The media professionals struggle to enjoy freedom of expression while the freedom of assembly for the opposition always come under direct physical attacks by the law-enforcing agents. Human rights Defenders are under physical attacks and manifold harassments by the state agents. The government controlled law-enforcing agents, security forces and intelligence agencies habitually keep denying the allegations against their members and tend to further harass the complainants and victims who dare to seek remedy. The ruling regime extends its utmost endorsement and blatant impunity to the perpetrators for gaining its narrow political agenda at the cost of the lives of many ordinary people. The opposition appears to be awaiting new opportunities of criticising the ruling regime merely for achieving one more chance to return to the power without any visible commitment to resolve the real problems that have been rooted to the systems of the State.

The high ranking public figures like the Prime Minister and ministers of the country compete with each other by making pledges in rhetorical speeches to the public, conventionally. Instead of implementing the pledges, the Prime Minister appeared to be the biggest saviour of the perpetrators of gross violation of human rights by publicly endorsing impunity. In fact, the victims of gross human rights abuses have no place to go for a consolation or a remedy let alone justice. The pledges remain unfulfilled for years. Torture and custodial death have not been criminalised despite the fact that a parliamentary committee unanimously recommended to legislate a Bill, which has been pending for more than two years in the House.

The AHRC urges the civil society and the governmental authorities to listen to the real victims who have been sustaining atrocities at the hands of the State-agents. Inexpressible frustrations prevail among the victims for having been repeatedly denied from access to justice. All these have created extreme form of distrust to the governance and criminal justice system of the country. This situation requires utmost attention from everyone. The nation must start wider discourse on how to initiate thorough reforms of the dysfunctional institutions.

Boeing Dreamliner sets record on test flight to Bangladesh

It was well before dawn at 5:30 a.m. Thursday when Boeing’s sixth 787 test airplane touched down at Boeing Field. Another record was in the book – an around the world flight that left from Boeing Field just after 11 a.m. Tuesday.

There was only one stop – for one hour, 53 minutes in Dhaka, Bangladesh, almost exactly half way through the trip. The Dreamliner spent a total of more than 40 hours in the air. The first leg took 20 hours and 30 minutes, the second leg back to Boeing field was just over 20 hours.

Boeing said the flight sets the record for speed eastbound around the world, at a total of 43 hours including the pit-stop, and for distance in 787s size class. The previous record was held by the Airbus 330.

“We want people to know what these airplanes can do,” says pilot Rod Skaar, who has planned out several of these trips in the past, including a record setting 777 flight in 1997 with a production airplane that holds a similar record in its respective weight class and is a larger jet than the 787.

Because it was a test aircraft, the interior on this plane is Spartan, with about a dozen seats in the cabin and bare floors. Six pilots rotated flying duties in four hour shifts, each spending about 16 hours at the controls. The plane is equipped with General Electric engines.

The trip was monitored by Kris Meynard with the National Aeronautic Association based in Washington, D.C. He will produce a report that will be sent to an organization in Europe that is expected to put the official international stamp on the records.

“That one flight (from Seattle to Dhaka) was 10,336 nautical miles, unofficially,” said Meynard.

The NAA was formed in 1905 to certify records in the early days of aviation when flights were short and hazardous. Wilbur Wright was among the first members.

BD-Myanmar to embark on a new phase of bilateral ties

Bangladesh and Myanmar have agreed to embark on a new phase of bilateral ties
for resolving outstanding refugee issue and enhancing cooperation in the fields
of energy, trade and investment, and regional connectivity, reports
BSS.

“Bangladesh and Myanmar are going to enter a new phase in bilateral
relations for the mutual benefit of their
peoples and collective prosperity of the region,” said a joint statement made
available in Dhaka Wednesday.

Following is the text of the Joint
Statement:

1. Prime Minister of Bangladesh Sheikh Hasina paid an official
visit to Myanmar from 5-7 December 2011 at the invitation of U Thein Sein, the
President of Myanmar. The Prime Minister of Bangladesh was accompanied by
Foreign Minister Dr Dipu Moni, Ambassador-at-Large M Ziauddin, Principal
Secretary Shaikh Md Wahid-Uz Zaman, Member of Parliament Nazmul Hassan Papon,
Member of Parliament Bir Bahadur U Shwe Sing,
Foreign Secretary Mohammed Mijarul Quayes and other senior Officials and
Business Delegation.

2. During the visit, the Prime Minister of
Bangladesh Sheikh Hasina held official talks with U Thein Sein, the President of
Myanmar. She laid the foundation stone of the

Bangladesh Chancery
Building in Nay Pyi Taw and visited Gems Museum and Uppatathandi Pagoda. Union
Minister for Foreign Affairs Wunna Maung Lwin called on the Prime Minister of
Bangladesh Sheikh Hasina.

3. The Prime Minister of Bangladesh Sheikh
Hasina was accorded a ceremonial reception with Guard of Honour at the
Presidential Office. President of Myanmar U Thein Sein hosted a banquet in
honour of the Prime Minister of Bangladesh and her delegation.

4. The
bilateral talks between Bangladesh and Myanmar were held on 6 December 2011 in a
cordial, warm and friendly environment reflecting the excellent bilateral
relations and friendship that exist between the two countries. The two Heads of
Government led their respective sides.

5. On the Bangladesh side the
Prime Minister was assisted by Foreign Minister Dr Dipu Moni,
Ambassador-at-Large M Ziauddin, Principal Secretary Shaikh Md Wahid-Uz Zaman,
Member of Parliament Nazmul Hassan Papon, Member of Parliament Bir Bahadur U
Shwe, Sing, Foreign Secretary Mohammad Mijarul Quayes, Ambassador of Bangladesh
to Myanmar Major General Anup Kumar Chakma, and other Senior Officials. On the
Myanmar side the President was assisted by Union Minister for Foreign Affairs U
Wunna Maung Lwin, and other Union Ministers and Senior Government
Officials.

6. At the outset, the Prime Minister of Bangladesh
congratulated U Thein Sein on his assumption of office as the President of the
Republic of the Union of Myanmar and being elected as the President of ASEAN for
2014. The Prime Minister of Bangladesh also expressed happiness at the steps
taken for political reconciliation by the President of Myanmar. Both Heads of
Government reaffirmed their satisfaction at the excellent bilateral relations
that have developed over the years based on geographic proximity, rich historic
and cultural traditions, people-to-people interactions as well as common
aspiration for development. They expressed happiness that Bangladesh-Myanmar
friendship is growing stronger and emphasized on the need to further accelerate
the relations in the best interest of the two peoples.

7. The President
of Myanmar praised the initiatives taken by the Bangladesh Prime Minister in
strengthening democracy and promoting peace, security and stability in the
region. Both Heads of Government noted that Bangladesh and Myanmar are going to
enter into a new phase in bilateral relations with a pragmatic and practical
approach based on sovereignty, equality, friendship, trust and understanding for
the mutual benefit of their peoples and collective prosperity of the region.

8. The two Heads of Government welcomed the holding of Foreign Office
Consultations, Joint Trade Commission’s Meetings, Nodal Agency’s Meetings in
controlling narcotics drugs and psychotropic substances and other meetings that
took place in recent years on various issues between the two countries for
further deepening of cooperation and widening of the relationship into newer
areas, and towards that end, agreed on a number of measures.

9. The
Prime Minister of Bangladesh raised the issue of Myanmar refugees living in
Nayapara and Kutupalong camp and the huge number of undocumented Myanmar
nationals living in Bangladesh and stated that early resolution of the issue
will help strengthen the bilateral relations to a great extent. The President of
the Republic of the Union of Myanmar expressed his desire to cooperate with
Bangladesh in resolving the issue.

10. The Prime Minister expressed
Bangladesh’s willingness to import energy from Myanmar and requested the
President to import readymade garments, pharmaceutical products, knitwear, jute
and jute goods, ceramics etc. from Bangladesh at competitive price and mentioned
that Bangladesh was keen to organise a “Single Country Trade Fair” in Yangon early next year.

11. The two
Heads of Government stressed upon the establishment of direct banking
arrangement under ACU (Asian Clearing Union) so that LCs can be opened directly
between the two countries and wished to launch direct air flight between Dhaka/Chittagong and Yangon, have
plying of non-conventional vessels between the designated commercial routes of
the two countries and emphasised on the increase of border trade.

12.
Both Heads of Government suggested that businessmen and entrepreneurs of
Bangladesh and Myanmar explore investment possibilities in Bangladesh and
Myanmar and take advantage of the enormous opportunities for extending bilateral
cooperation in the area of tourism development in providing opportunities for
people-to-people contacts.

13. Myanmar and Bangladesh signed the
following Agreement/Memorandum of Understanding.

a. Agreement on the
Establishment of a Joint Commission for Bilateral Cooperation between the
Government of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar and the Government of the
People’s Republic of Bangladesh,

b. Memorandum of Understanding on
Establishment of Joint Business Council (JBC) between the Republic of the Union
of Myanmar Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry (UMFCCI) and the
Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FBCCI).

14.
The Prime Minister of Bangladesh thanked the President of Myanmar and the
Government and the People of Myanmar for the warm and gracious hospitality
extended to her and the members of her delegation during their stay in Myanmar.

15. The Prime Minister of Bangladesh extended a warm invitation to the
President of Myanmar and wife Daw Khin Khin Win to visit Bangladesh at a
mutually convenient time. The President of Myanmar thanked the Prime Minister of
Bangladesh and accepted her invitation with immense pleasure, dates for which
would be fixed by mutual consultation through diplomatic channel.