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Sunday, July 14, 2024

Bangladesh key to India’s Neighbourhood First, Act East, SAGAR policy: Modi after talks with Hasina

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday said that the state visit of Bangladesh PM Sheikh Hasina to India was special, and that Dhaka is key to India’s Neighbourhood First, Act East Policy and SAGAR vision.

In a post on X, the PM said: “Glad to have welcomed PM Sheikh Hasina to Delhi today. Over the year, we have met about ten times but this visit is special because she is our first state guest after our Government returned to power for the third term. Be it the ‘Neighbourhood First’, ‘Act East’ or SAGAR policy, Bangladesh is key to them all.”

Earlier, PM Modi and Bangladesh PM Sheikh Hasina held bilateral talks in Hyderabad House, following which the two sides inked 10 agreements, including seven new MoUs and three renewed ones, while 13 key announcements were made.

PM Modi in his press statement after the talks said that India will open a new consulate in Bangladesh’s Rangpur, start e-medical visa facility for Bangladeshi citizens seeking medical treatment in India, and both sides are to begin talks on a bilateral trade agreement.

PM Modi also said the two sides have drawn up a futuristic vision statement on green partnership, digital partnership, blue economy, space, and that the cooperation will benefit the youth of the two countries.

“We have kept connectivity, collaboration and commerce at the centre of our cooperation…We are to focus on digital and energy connectivity, which will give pace to the economy of our countries,” he said.

“We are in agreement to begin talks on a CEPA to give heft to our economic relations,“ the PM said, adding that India will support the construction of an inland water container terminal in Bangladesh’s Sirajganj.

On Teesta, the PM said an Indian team will go to Bangladesh to conduct a technical study for conservation and management of the Teesta river. He also said that both countries have 54 common rivers, and both sides have been cooperating in flood management, early warning, drinking water projects. The two sides have decided to begin talks at the technical level for renewal of the 1996 Ganga River Waters Treaty.

Both sides have held talks for boosting defence cooperation, ranging from defence production to modernisation of their armed forces and also for strengthening cooperation in counterterrorism, and countering extremism and for peace at the border.

He welcomed Bangladesh joining the Indo-Pacific Initiative, and said both sides will continue to cooperate on BIMSTEC and other regional forums.

“Bangladesh is India’s biggest development partner, and we give utmost importance to our ties with Bangladesh,” PM Modi said.

He congratulated PM Sheikh Hasina for giving direction to the vision of Sonar Bangla due to which in 2026 the country is going to become a developing country.

“I have full faith that together we will realise our vision of Viksit Bharat 2047 and Smart Bangladesh 2041,” the PM said.

Bangladesh PM Sheikh Hasina in her statement said that both sides have agreed to collaborate for the betterment of their people and countries.

“Today, our two sides had very productive meetings where we discussed politics and security, trade and connectivity, the sharing of water from common rivers, power and energy, and regional and multilateral cooperation, among other issues of mutual interest,” she said.

“India is our major neighbour, trusted friend, and regional partner,” she said, adding that Bangladesh greatly values the relations with India, which were born during the War of Liberation in 1971.

She invited PM Modi to visit Bangladesh at his earliest convenience.

External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar in a post on X said that the agreements signed between India and Bangladesh show the breadth of the bilateral bonds.

He said: “The State Visit of Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina reflects the depth of the Bharat-Bangladesh Maitri.

“That PM Hasina is the first State guest in our new term shows the importance we attach to the India-Bangladesh relationship.

As PM @narendramodi said, Bangladesh lies at the intersection of our Neighborhood First, Act East, SAGAR and Indo-Pacific policies.

“Being truly good neighbors, our ties are consolidating traditional areas and covering new ground.

“The agreements signed today show the breadth of our bonds. From seas to space, digital, green and health, military, rail and disaster, our two countries are collaborating across all avenues of human endeavor.

“Confident that under PM @narendramodi and PM Sheikh Hasina’s leadership, India-Bangladesh ties will keep growing from strength to strength.”

The list of 13 announcements made today are significant:

These are:

*e- visa for Medical Patients from Bangladesh

*New Assistant High Commission of India in Rangpur in Bangladesh

* New train service between Rajshahi and Kolkata

*New bus service between Chittagong and Kolkata

* Commencement of goods train services between Gede-Darsana and Haldibari-Chilahati upto Dalgaon

*Construction of Inland Container Depot (ICD) at Sirajganj under grant assistance

*Commencement of export of 40 MW of power from Nepal to Bangladesh through Indian grid

*Joint Technical Committee for discussions on renewal of the Ganga Water Treaty

*Visit of technical delegation to Bangladesh for project on conservation and management of Teesta River inside Bangladesh

*350 training slots for Bangladeshi police officers

* Muktijoddha Scheme for medical patients with an upper ceiling of 8 lakh per patient

*Bangladesh joined Indo-Pacific Oceans Initiative

*Commercial agreement between NPCI and Bangladesh Bank for launch of UPI

The list of agreements include:

*MoU between In-Space and Bangladesh’s Ministry of ICT and Telecom

*MoU between Ministry of Railways, Government of India and Ministry of Railways, Government of Bangladesh for railway connectivity

*MoU for Cooperation in Oceanography between Bangladesh Oceanographic Research Institute (BORI) and India’s National Institute of Oceanographic Institute (NIO) under CSIR

*MoU between Defence Services Staff College (DSSC), Wellington and Defence Services Command and Staff College (DSCSC), Mirpur for cooperation concerning Military education in the field of strategic and operational studies

*Renewal of MoU for cooperation in Health and Medicine

*Renewal of MoU between NDMA and Ministry of Disaster Management and Relief for cooperation in the field of Disaster Management, Resilience and Mitigation

*Renewal of MoU for cooperation in Fisheries

The Bangladesh PM arrived yesterday on a two-day State visit. In the morning she was accorded a ceremonial reception at Rashtrapati Bhavan. She will call on President Draupadi Murmu and Vice President Jagdeep Dhankhar, before returning to Dhaka.

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