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Bangladesh, India sign extradition and visa deals


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India's Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde (L) shakes hands with Bangladesh's Minister for Home Affairs Mohiuddin Khan Alamgir as they pose for the media after signing a treaty in Dhaka. -Reuters Photo

DHAKA: Bangladesh and India on Monday signed an extradition treaty and struck a deal to relax business visa restrictions between the neighbouring countries.

The extradition treaty could pave the way for Bangladesh to put on trial several crime bosses who crossed the border into India but are still running their gangs by telephone, a senior official at Bangladesh's Home Affairs Ministry told Reuters.

It could also help India bring back fugitive separatists who have fled to Bangladesh including Ulfa leader Anup Chetia.

“We are particularly grateful as the treaty will deal with Indian insurgent groups,” Indian Home Minister Sushilkumar Rao Shinde told reporters at a joint press conference.

“Both sides committed to act against elements inimical to both countries,” he said.

India has long been pressing for Chetia's deportation. He has been in a Dhaka jail since his arrest in 1997 on charges of entering Bangladesh without valid documents.

The travel agreement between India and Bangladesh will allow business visas to be valid for up to five years instead of the current one year.

“Such an arrangement will help to boost the trade and business of Bangladesh with India,” said Mahbubur Rahman, president of the International Chamber of Commerce of Bangladesh.

“If Bangladeshis can travel freely, and the exporters can get their payment freely, then in less than 10 years Bangladesh's exports can be tripled to that country,” Rahman said.

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