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Hasina, Modi scale up bilateral ties

  • Published at 08:29 pm April 8th, 2017
  • Last updated at 05:30 am April 9th, 2017
Hasina, Modi scale up bilateral ties
Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday signed 22 instruments covering diverse areas of bilateral cooperation, including economic, defence cooperation, power, peaceful use of nuclear energy, outer space, information technology and mass media. The deals were signed following the official bilateral talks between the two prime ministers. The two prime ministers witnessed the signing ceremony of documents after their talks at Hyderabad House, Indian Prime Minister’s Office. Four memorandums of understanding (MoU), out of the 22 documents, were exchanged in presence of the two prime ministers ahead of their joint press briefing following the bilateral talks. They along with West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee flagged off new passenger bus services for Khulna-Kolkata route, trial run of Khulna-Kolkata Second Maitree Express and re-opening of Biral-Radhikapur rail route for freight. The four memorandums which were exchanged in presence of the duo are - MoU on bilateral judicial sector cooperation, MoU on extending third Line of Credit by India to Bangladesh, MoU on cooperation of peaceful use of outer space and MoU on passenger and cruise services on the coastal and protocol route. Notably missing from the instruments was any deal on the share of water of the Teesta River. The two premiers however discussed the issues of water resources management, including sharing of water of common rivers like Teesta, the Padma-Ganges Barrage Project and basin-wise management of the trans-boundary streams. “I sincerely believe that we shall be able to get India’s support in resolving these issues expeditiously,” Sheikh Hasina said. Modi at the press briefing acknowledged the Teesta issue to have drawn “greatest attention” in regard to bilateral relations and expressed his “firm belief” that it would find an early solution. Hasina described her meeting with Modi to be “productive” as they sat together to take Bangladesh-India bilateral relations to newer heights. “We both pledged ‘zero tolerance’ against terrorism and violent extremism and reiterated our strong commitment to make our borders peaceful and free from criminal activities,” Sheikh Hasina said. [caption id="attachment_57196" align="aligncenter" width="900"]000_ND75W Photo: AFP[/caption] Modi said the spread of radicalisation and extremism posed a grave threat to the entire region and noted with high appreciated Dhaka’s stance in this regard saying “India has greatest admiration for Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s firm resolve in dealing with terrorism.” Modi said during the talks both the premiers agreed that peace, security and development for the two peoples and for the region would remain central to their engagement. “Today, India has taken a long overdue step by signing an agreement on close cooperation between armed forces of the two countries,” he said. The Indian premier added: “I am also happy to announce a Line of Credit of $500 million to support Bangladesh’s defence-related procurement.” He said in implementing this line of credit, “we will be guided by Bangladesh’s needs and priorities.” The Indian prime minister said he is happy to announce a new concessional Line of Credit of $4.5 billion for the implementation of projects in priority sectors for Bangladesh. Hasina said she was happy to honour the 1971 martyrs of Indian Armed Forces during her current visit to Delhi. The premier announced with appreciation that New Delhi has agreed to support Bangladesh’s efforts to obtain international recognition of “Genocide of 1971” as Dhaka sought India’s assistance towards that end. Hasina said she agreed with her counterpart that greater connectivity was vital for the development of the two countries and the region. She said the consensus on increased connectivity led the two neighbours’ to flag off new passenger bus services for Khulna-Kolkata route, trial run of Khulna-Kolkata Second Maitree Express and re-opening of Biral-Radhikapur railway route for freight. “We have released Hindi edition of ‘Bangabandhu’s Asamapta Atmajiboni’,” Hasina said. The premier said Bangladesh and India have very good cooperation in power and energy sectors. “We have inaugurated supply of additional 60MW power to Bangladesh from Tripura. We have also discussed cross-border electricity import from Nepal and Bhutan (through Indian territory).” Hasina said Modi was receptive to the issue of growing trade deficit and assured of his government’s concrete steps to address this. “We have also discussed on the review of anti-dumping duties imposed on jute export from Bangladesh and resolved the issue,” the prime minister said. Modi said India wants to build cooperation in new areas, especially some high-technology areas that have a deeper connect with the youth in both the societies while identified the areas to be electronics, information technology, cyber security, space exploration, civil nuclear energy. Modi said both the premiers recognised the need to diversify “our commercial engagement.” Paying tributes to Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, Modi said he was a dear friend of India and a towering leader. “As a mark of our respect and deep admiration for the father of Bangladesh, a prominent road in our capital city has been named after him. We have also agreed to jointly produce a film on the life and works of Bangabandhu which will be released on his birth centenary year in 2020,” he said. “Along with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, I am also honoured to release the Hindi translation of Bangbandhu’s ‘Unfinished Memoirs’,” he said. Modi told Sheikh Hasina that “you have successfully carried forward the vision and legacy of Bangabandhu today, under your leadership, Bangladesh is marching on a trajectory of high growth and development. We in India rejoice in our ties with Bangladesh.” The prime minister also extended her greetings to the people of both countries in Bangla on the occasion of Bangla Noboborsho 1424. Modi also said the Bangladesh’s decision to honour Indian soldiers who laid down their lives in the Liberation War of 1971 deeply touched the people of India.The 22 Deals  
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