Dhaka, August 7:
Making it clear that India would go ahead with the fencing of the over 4000-km border with Bangladesh, External Affairs Minister K Natwar Singh today said this would help curb activities like smuggling and illegal migration and contribute to peace and tranquility.
â€œA strong fence is useful for both sides to achieve their common objectives for mutual benefit,â€ Singh, who is on a three-day visit, said in an interview to Bangla daily Jugantor.
Due to the porous nature of the borders, there was considerable cross-border criminal activity including illegal trade in arms and explosives, counterfeit currency, trafficking in narcotics, women and children, he said. â€œWe have seen that in those areas where a fence is in place, there has been a sharp decline in illegal cross-border activities,â€ he said.
On the proposed gas pipeline between Myanmar and India via Bangladesh, Singh said Indian experts were examining the most efficient ways of importing gas from Myanmar.
â€œThe gas pipeline through Bangladesh is one of the options being actively considered. This is a commercial project to be implemented by an international consortium,â€ he said.
Singh discussed the tri-nation project during talks with Bangladesh Finance Minister Saifur Rahman. Dhaka wants India to establish a direct road linking Bangladesh, Nepal and Bhutan and address the issue of trade imbalance.
Asked whether the twice-deferred SAARC Summit, now slated to be held here in November, would be postponed, Rahman said the dates have already been announced.
Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh â€œis eagerly looking forward to visiting Dhaka for the Summit,â€ he said.