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Bangladesh asked to investigate destination of smuggled arms

By Haroon Habib

DHAKA, APRIL 22. India has expressed concern over the recent seizure of a large quantity of arms and ammunition in Chittagong, and has requested the Bangladesh Government to investigate the source and destination of the smuggled weapons.

The Indian High Commissioner, Veena Sikri, conveyed New Delhi's concern during her three-day visit to Chittagong, where she met businessmen, political leaders, intellectuals and officials.

Ms. Sikri told a meeting of Chittagong businessmen, who exchanged views with the Indian envoy on bilateral trade and commerce at the Chittagong Chamber of Commerce and Industry on Wednesday, about India's concern.

Ms. Sikri also requested the Bangladesh authorities to investigate whether the seized arms and ammunition were for dispatch to insurgents of India's North-East.She visited the troubled Bandarban hill district and also met the Chittagong Mayor, A. B. M. Mohiuddin Chowdhury, who had recently caused a furore alleging publicly that the arms smuggled in were for the insurgents in the North-East.

On April 17, the Indian envoy met the Bangladesh Foreign Minister, Morshed Khan, and conveyed India's concern over the arms consignment.

She told the businessmen that India was committed to sharing financial growth benefits and reducing the trade gap with neighbouring countries, including Bangladesh. The main impediment to greater economic and political relations was "mistrust."

Presiding over the meeting, the Chittagong Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Amir Humayun Mahmud Chowdhury, said recent Indian Government provisions affected exporters.

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