Accords, MoUs on connectivity, anti-terrorism, none on Teesta

Accords, MoUs on connectivity, anti-terrorism, none on Teesta

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The first day of historic visit by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi ended with no specific time-bound commitment on Teesta water sharing deal but witnessed the signing of a slew of deals and MoUs between the two countries.
Modi, however, highly appreciated Bangladesh’s leadership and expressed his government’s commitment to further expand relationship with Bangladesh.
“People in India admire your Nation’s progress despite many challenges. We want you to succeed in your Mission 2021 and 2041. The success of Bangladesh is important for the region and the world. So is the success of our partnership,” he said while making his statement at the Prime Minister’s Office.The Indian Prime Minister said Bangladesh and India are defined by the youth and both the countries owe it to them to set new directions and scale new heights in relations. “I’m confident that we have done that today.”
Noting that rivers should nurture relationship not become a source of discord, Modi assured that India will be able to settle the Teesta and Feni rivers’ water-sharing issues with the help of its West Bengal state.
“I’m confident that with the support of state governments in India, we can reach a fair solution on Teesta and Feni Rivers [issues],” Modi said stressing that water sharing is, above all, a human issue as it affects the life and livelihood on both sides of the border.
However, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee who is key player behind the Teesta deal, kept mum entire days making no comment on Teesta issue, though it could not be known what she discussed with Modi and Hasina.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said a greater connectivity is very vital for the development of the two countries and the region saying that the signing of a slew of deals on that front are examples of two countries commitment to seamless connectivity.
“We understand each other’s concerns and priorities. Prime Minister Modi (Narendra Modi) and I agree that a greater connectivity is vital for the development of the two countries and for the region,” she said mentioning that connectivity across the region will reduce inequalities maximising welfare gains.
Both Bangladesh and India reiterated their strong commitment to make borders peaceful and prosperous apart from reiterating their stance against extremism and terrorism. “We also pledged zero tolerance against terrorism and extremism,” said the Bangladesh Prime Minister.
On trade issues, Bangladesh got a fresh assurance from top Indian leadership to reduce the trade gap with India.
About trade imbalance, the Indian Prime Minister said he is aware of the huge trade imbalance, despite duty- and quota-free access to Bangladesh in India on all but 25 items.
“Yet, I’ve assured the Prime Minister (Hasina) we’ll do everything we can to bridge the deficit,” he said adding that Indian investments in Bangladesh will help.
He added: “I’ll also try to make trade smoother and easier, including at the border. The agreement on standards and testing is a step in that direction.”
The big thing so far is that Bangladesh and India signed 22 agreements and MoUs aiming to make their existing strong ties more meaningful and contribute to regional cooperation.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and her Indian counterpart Narendra Modi witnessed the signing and document exchanges that followed their summit meeting.
Of all the instruments, eight are agreements and 10 MoUs, a consent letter, two exchange of documents and a protocol (renewal).
There was a historic moment Bangladesh and India exchanged the instruments of ratification on Land Boundary Agreement (LBA) formalising the long-pending issue between the two countries.
Bangladesh Foreign Secretary M Shahidul Haque and Indian External Affairs Ministry Secretary Dr S Jaishankar exchanged the document on behalf of their respective countries.
Sheikh Hasina, Narendra Modi and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee witnessed the exchange of ratification instruments.
“History is made as the Instruments of Ratification of the Land Boundary Agreement are exchanged,” Indian Prime Minister’s Office tweeted after the exchange ceremony.
Soon after his arrival here, Modi tweeted both in English and Bangla and thanked Bangladesh Prime Minister for warm welcome in Dhaka.
“Thank you PM Sheikh Hasina for the warm welcome. I look forward to a very good visit that will strengthen ties between India & Bangladesh,” he tweeted after his arrival here.
“Hello Bangladesh. I bring with me the affection & goodwill of the people of India,” he said in his another tweet.
Modi termed Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman as an icon of democracy, a towering personality and a great friend of India. “Saluting an icon of democracy, a towering personality & a great friend of India, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman,” he tweeted after paying him respect.
Indian Prime Minister’s Office posted a number of photos with captions, “Pictures from the house where history was scripted by Bangabandhu.” – UNB

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