Assam NRC to be key issue in Hasina-Modi talks: Indian media

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Assam NRC: The citizens’ list in Assam is expected to top the agenda when Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina visits India next month for talks with Narendra Modi, reports Indian media.

“Dhaka’s concerns about people excluded from the National Register of Citizens (NRC) expected to figure on the agenda,” reads a Hindustan Times report published on Saturday (Sep 14).

Hasina is set to visit the neighbouring country during Oct 3-6 for talks with her Indian counterpart and to attend the India Economic Summit of the World Economic Forum.

It will be the first meeting between the two leaders in their current terms. Hasina came to power for a third straight term after the December 2018 elections while Modi started his second consecutive term in June this year.

The ties between the countries have strengthened under the leaders, who have jointly launched several projects, especially in connectivity.

Bangladesh is expected to bring up its concerns that those excluded from the NRC in Assam could be deported, Hindustan Times said citing people familiar with the developments.

India has been maintaining that the NRC is a domestic matter, a statement which it’s Foreign Minister S Jaishankar reiterated during his visit to Bangladesh last month.

But statements from India’s top leadership have not helped. Home Minister Amit Shah during his recent visit to Assam had said not a single infiltrator would be allowed to stay.

Assam Finance Minister Himanta Biswa Sharma said that India would have to persuade Bangladesh to take back people nearly 2 million people excluded from the final NRC list published on Aug 31.

Citing sources in the Bangladesh government, Indian media outlet Strategic News International reported on Saturday that Dhaka will not allow even one person to cross the border.

The Indian foreign ministry, however, said on Thursday the process of deciding the fate of the people left out of the NRC is expected to be “fairly long” and they have the right to appeal to Foreigners Tribunals and higher courts.

During the talks between the two leaders next month, Dhaka is also expected to seek New Delhi’s support for facilitating the repatriation of the Rohingya refugees to Myanmar, the Hindustan Times report said citing people familiar with the matter.

The two sides are also expected to review progress in the implementation of development projects funded by India and the sharing of river waters, it said.

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