DHAKA, Sept 24, Reuter: Bangladesh President Hossain Mohammad Ershad will visit India on Tuesday for talks with Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi on joint efforts to deal with annual Monsoon floods, Government officials said on Saturday.

Ershad will be accompanied on the one day visit by Foreign Minister Humayun Rasheed Choudhury and Education Minister Anisul Islam Mahmud.

Devasting Monsoon floods in Bangladesh this month killed more than 1,600 people, made millions homeless and destroyed crops and property worth billions of dollars.

In New Delhi, a government spokesman said Ershad was making the visit at his own request. He said the control of rivers which flow through both India and Bangladesh would be a key at Ershad’s talks with Gandhi.

Ershad has already proposed a regional meeting of experts from India, Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan and China to determine the causes of the annual floods and suggest remedies.

Deforestation of mountain areas in Nepal, India, Bhutan and China has been widely blamed for the floods.

Knowledgeable sources said prospects of the regional meeting taking place receded after Bangladesh returned four Indian Air Force helicopters which New Delhi sent in response to an appeal for logistical support in flood relief operations.

India interpreted the gesture as a diplomatic snub, one source said.

Article extracted from this publication >> September 30, 1988