Dhaka, Bangladesh (BBN)– Indian Minister of Communications and IT Kapil Sibal has emphasized on enhancing cooperation between Bangladesh and India in the area of telecommunications.

“The two nations must work together to reap the benefits of the superb advancement of today in telecommunication sector,” he said while talking to Bangladesh parliamentary delegation led by Hasanul Haq Inu, MP, Chairman of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications, in New Delhi.

Other members Khalid Mahmud Chowdhury, MP, Mouazzam Hossain Ratan, MP, and Eng. Golam Mostafa, MP and Bangladesh High Commissioner to India Tariq A. Karim were present, according to a press statement of Bangladesh Mission in New Delhi.

Expressing his government’s interest to extend cooperation to Bangladesh, Sibal agreed to set up a six-member joint Working Group with three members from each country as proposed by Bangladesh who would identify the priority areas and a roadmap could be devised subsequently on the basis of their report.

The Bangladesh delegation emphasized the need for putting in place a structural mechanism enabling regular meetings among the concerned officers of both the governments.

It was also agreed that there would be Technical Committee meetings between Bangladesh and India on an annual basis. The last such meeting took place in 2004.

In response, Inu referred to the bright prospects of Bangladesh in turning itself into the hub of network in this region.

He identified the priority areas of Bangladesh government which are migration to IPV-6, Green ICT, digitization of all the secondary schools in Bangladesh, setting up digitized postal centres, management of electronic waste, combating cyber crime, making ICT a tool to mitigate climate change, satellite network for Asia and Asian Terrestrial Information Highway.

Inu urged that the governments of Bangladesh and India as well as the private operators in both the countries should be more forthcoming in reducing the digital divide in the societies.

He expressed his view that connectivity based on information technology may be considered at sub-regional level taking Nepal and Bhutan also along with India and Bangladesh.

Earlier the delegation visited the Office of Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Limited (MTNL), a state-owned telecommunications service provider in the metro cities of Mumbai and New Delhi and had an interactive meeting with the Chairman of MTNL A.K.Garag and other high officials.

The delegation also visited Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL), a state-owned telecommunications company headquartered in New Delhi, and Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI), the independent regulator of the telecommunications business in India.

BBN/SSR/AD-19Jan12-12:41 am (BST)