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PM leaves on two-day visit to Bangladesh

New Delhi: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today left on a two-day visit to Bangladesh that is expected to put the bumpy bilateral ties in a new trajectory through signing of deals in a range of sectors including extradition of sentenced persons, connectivity, power, exchange of enclaves and border management.

However, the visit has been clouded by the uncertainty over the signing of an accord on sharing of waters of Teesta River following strong reservations expressed by West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee who pulled out of the visit.

Diplomatic sources said the two countries are also considering signing of a long-term framework agreement for forging close bilateral relations.

Bangladesh and India had signed a 25-year Treaty of Friendship, Cooperation and Peace on March 19, 1972. The two governments, however, declined to renegotiate or renew the treaty when it expired in 1997. The framework of agreement, the sources said, will provide a structure, and identify priorities of the relationship.

Singh had, in a statement on the eve of his departure for Dhaka, outlined his agenda in Bangladesh– security, boundary issues, water resources, power connectivity, improvement of border infrastructure, trade facilitation and economic cooperation?and said efforts would be made to sustain and build upon the "positive momentum".

During his visit, Singh will hold talks with his Bangladesh counterpart Sheikh Hasina, call on President Zillur Rahman and hold meetings with opposition leaders Begum Khaleda Zia and Jatiya Party chief Hussain Muhammed Ershad, the former military dictator. .

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