Narinjara News



Bangladesh’s Finance Minister's tour in India finished with a signal of gas pipeline 


By Nyo Tun Kyaw



Dhaka, Dec 16:  Even though Bangladesh’s Finance Minister, M Saifur Rahman, did not discuss the issue of the transnational gas pipeline connecting Burma, India, and Bangladesh during his meeting with the premier of India, he discussed the issue with some ministers of India, according to local sources.


But he did not say whether the discussion of gas pipeline issue is progressive or not.


He returned to Dhaka last week after completing his five-day visit to India. During his trip, he met a number of Indian ministers.


On the sidelines of the Indian Economic Summit on December 7th, M Rahman had told journalists that Bangladesh seriously considered allowing the construction of a gas pipeline through its territory to carry natural gas from Burma to India.


Bangladesh’s Finance Minister discussed the gas pipeline issue not only the Indian journalists but also some ministers of India. But we didn't receive any details information that he discussed the issue with some ministers from India,” a Burmese dissident in New Delhi said.


Bangladesh’s cabinet recently held several meetings to discuss the possibility of a gas pipeline from Burma to India via Bangladesh. The pipeline would generate over $100 million per year for Bangladesh.


A local business firm, Bangladesh Mohona Holdings Limited, has submitted a proposal about the construction of the gas pipeline to the Bangladeshi government since 1996, but the government has not reached a decision.


Bangladesh’s present government was also intending to sell its gas to India, but this is now on hold, as the people of Bangladesh are strongly opposed to the government’s plan.


Analysts claim that the construction of a gas pipeline to Burma through its territory is presenting the Bangladeshi government with a moral dilemma, as most of the Burmese people are against selling gas to India.


The people the Arakan State in Burma, from where the gas would be extracted, oppose selling the gas to India, since the sale would only benefit Burma’s military government and not the people.


“We strongly condemn those who are in cooperation with Burma’s military government over the sale of Arakan gas. By selling the gas, the Burmese military will obtain a significant amount of foreign currency for the purchase of arms to oppress our people. So all neighbouring countries need to consider this reality”, said an Arakanese campaigner against the sale of gas in Bangladesh.


However, in January, Bangladesh’s government will sit with India and Burma in Rangoon to discuss cooperating on the transnational -gas pipeline issue. #




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