Dhaka, Delhi joint statement sets new vision for future

Dhaka, Delhi joint statement sets new vision for future

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Bangladesh and India have issued a joint statement laying down the vision of the two leaders – Sheikh Hasina and Narendra Modi –for the benefit of the region.
The two Prime Ministers expressed “firm commitment” to set an example of good neighbourliness in the region and also emphasised that “we must continue to progress together”.“Both leaders thus agreed to promote shared interests of the two peoples so as to live together harmoniously and in a mutually beneficial inter-dependent environment”.
They pledged to pursue “new opportunities” to further deepen and broaden the relations in the 62-point statement issued after their summit meeting and exchange of signed agreements and MoUs.
The long statement presented the whole range of discussions under subheads. Those are: India and Bangladesh – A Fraternal Relationship, sustaining the partnership through high-level visits, working together to create a secure environment, development partnership with Bangladesh, and energising the partnership in the power sector.
Trade and investment promotion for shared prosperity, building connectivity – on land, in the waters, in the skies, crafting a stronger defence cooperation, building bridges to optimise people to people contacts and ‘friends at Home; partners in the region and the world’ are the other subheads under which the bilateral visit has been recorded.
According to the statement, 34 bilateral documents including business documents “are being signed, exchanged, adopted and handed over during the visit”.
The statement highlighted the way forward of sustaining the “fraternal” relationship between the countries. They also promised to remain “friends at home; partners in the region and the world”.
Hasina reached New Delhi on a four-day state visit on Friday, first in seven years.
Defence, civil nuclear cooperation, space technology and cyber security are some of the new areas of agreements signed during the visit.
Modi termed the existing relations a “golden era” while Hasina said Bangladesh considers India “most important neighbour and one of our key development partners”.
They also agreed to sustain the “partnership” through high-level visits.
Modi announced $4.5 billion line of credit for Bangladesh, bringing its funding for Bangladesh to more than $8 billion over the past six years.
Additional, $500 million line of credit would be extended for defence purchase based on Bangladesh’s needs and priorities.
According to the statement, Hasina requested Modi for the conclusion of the “Interim Agreement on Sharing of the Water of Teesta as agreed upon by both governments in January 2011”.
Modi reiterated that his government is working with “all stakeholders in India for an early conclusion of the Agreement”.
They directed concerned officials to meanwhile conclude discussions on various aspects relating to sharing of waters of the Feni, Manu, Muhuri, Khowai, Gumti, Dharla and Dudhkumar rivers.
The two Prime Ministers appreciated the “positive” steps taken in respect of Bangladesh’s proposal for jointly developing the Ganges Barrage on the river Padma in Bangladesh as they welcomed new developments.
Those include the visit of “an Indian technical team to Bangladesh and establishment of a ‘Joint Technical Sub-Group on Ganges Barrage Project’ and study of the riverine border in the upstream area of project”.
Both leaders directed the concerned officials of the ‘Joint Technical Sub-Group’ to meet soon and hoped that the matter would be further taken forward through continued engagement of both sides.
The two Prime Ministers condemned the genocide that occurred in Bangladesh in 1971 and called upon the international community to recognise and preserve the memory of those who lost their lives and those who suffered during the genocide.
Modi announced a special medical scheme under which 100 Muktijoddhas of Bangladesh will be provided medical treatment in Indian hospitals every year.
He also extended the Muktijoddha Scholarship Scheme for 10,000 heirs of Muktijhoddhas for another five years. He also announced five-year multiple entry visas for the freedom fighters.
They reiterated their commitment to ensuring that their respective territories would not be allowed to be used for any activities inimical to the other.
The two leaders agreed to foster “mutually beneficial and deeper” defence cooperation, taking into account the history of cooperation which began with both forces’ joint operation during Bangladesh’s Liberation War in 1971.
They stressed on the need to further strengthen and consolidate defence cooperation through greater military-to-military training and exchanges.
They also complimented the Armed Forces for their professional conduct during Joint Search and Rescue Operations in the Bay of Bengal leading to the rescue of a large number of fishermen from both sides and the recent initiatives to enhance cooperation in the field of HADR activities.
The two leaders welcomed the conclusion of MOUs on Defence Cooperation, Defence Line of Credit, as well as cooperation between various defence training institutes.
The two Prime Ministers emphasised the advantages of sub-regional cooperation in the areas of power, water resources, trade, transit and connectivity for mutual benefit.
They also agreed to pursue cooperation in peaceful uses of outer space jointly, for which a MoU was signed by Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) and Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC).
Prime Minister Modi thanked Prime Minister Hasina for the supply of broadband internet connectivity from Cox’s Bazar to Tripura and Northeastern region of India.
The two Prime Ministers reiterated their commitment to work closely in furthering relevant regional/sub-regional cooperation processes.
They emphasised on the further strengthening of cooperation and coordination among the BCIM-EC Study Group and directed their respective teams to finalise at an early date the BCIM-EC Study Group reports which could facilitate projects envisaged under this framework.
The two Prime Ministers reaffirmed their commitment to work closely with the UN and other multilateral organisations.
Prime Minister Hasina reiterated her country’s support for India’s candidature for permanent membership of an expanded and reformed UN Security Council.
Both Prime Ministers underscored the need for strengthening and reform of multilateral financial institutions and enhanced the voice and participation of developing countries in international economic decision-making.
Hasina extended an invitation to Modi that he accepted. It was agreed that the visit would take place at a “mutually convenient date”. – Agencies

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