Full Coverage of Indian PM Narendra Modi’s visit to Bangladesh on 26-27 March 2021

PM Modi visited Bangladesh to attend the Golden Jubilee of the Independence, the Birth Centenary of the Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman

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Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina today (27 March 2021) sought implementation of the earlier reached proposed Teesta agreement and steps to bring down the “border incidents” to zero level as she held talks with Indian premier Narendra Modi at her office here.

“The decision of signing a treaty was taken jointly nine years ago which is yet to be implemented,” Bangladesh PM’s Press Secretary Ihsanul Karim told a media briefing quoting Sheikh Hasina as saying during the two premiers talks.

Sheikh Hasina, he said, told her counterpart that the implementation of the proposed treaty appeared crucial as the people living along the Teesta river bank were suffering because of water shortage.

The Bangladesh premier expressed her concerns about the border incidents which she said increased in recent period and requested her counterpart to look into the matter properly to reduce the incidences to zero level.

Karim said the Indian premier told Sheikh Hasina that India was committed for a “reasonable solution” to the water sharing issues involving all common rivers with Bangladesh.

Modi, he said, also acknowledged the issue of border incidents and said ground level cooperation will help check this kind of incidents.

The PMO spokesman said the Rohingya crisis also featured the talks when Sheikh Hasina said Bangladesh wanted New Delhi’s more active role in repatriating over one million forcibly displaced people of Myanmar.

She said the return of these people in quickest possible time was needed since the lingering of the crisis could create grounds for their involvement in terrorist activities and drug trading.

“Sooner is the better,” Karim quoted her as saying.

In response, he said, the Indian premier told Sheikh Hasina that his country wants sustainable return of the refugees in a sustainable manner.

The Bangladesh premier greeted Modi for launching successfullly the vaccination campaign particularly praising him for supplying the inoculates to other countries in the region as part of his “neighbourhood first” policy.

Sheikh Hasina said Bangladesh by now nearly exhausted the first commercial consignment of the COVID-19 vaccine from India and hope that the rest of the consignments would be delivered soon.

She also thanked Indian Prime Mijister for giving 12 lakh doses of COVID-19 vaccine as gift.

Modi said that Bangladesh and India are now facing the Covid-19 pandemic a situation that prompted hisn country to send as gift another consignment of 1.2 million Covid-19 vaccines and 109 life saving ambulances.

The Bangladesh premier drew her counterpart’s attention to indiscriminate imposition of anti-dumping duties which was creating unnecessary obstacles to the bilateral cooperation and sought Modi’s quick intervention to resolve the issue.

The Bangladesh premier proposed enhanced joint cooperation to promote jute as environment friendly fiber as the two countries were the biggest jute producing countries.

“So we must need to cooperate more meaningfully for this sector,” she said adding Dhaka extended an open invitation for foreign direct investment for Bangladesh’s state run jute mills under public-private partnership.

The Prime Minister said that Bangladesh is keen to use effectively the Indian lines of credit and put emphasis on axing ineffective projects from the list under the Indian credit.

She simultaneously sought the Indian premier’s steps so the line of credit could be disbursed quickly for quick implementation of the projects and also emphasised on increased contacts between entreprenuers between the two countries.

The Indian premier expressed his desire to be a partner to launch the Bangabandhu-2 satellite.

Sheikh Hasina said that the introduction of Moitree Setu between Bangladesh and India has added a new dimention to cooperation in the communication sector.

She said that Indian state Tripura can use Chattogram Airport alongside Chattogram and Mongla Ports.

Stating some routes to connect Bangladesh with Nepal and Bhutan, the premier expected India to consider the prospect for mutual benefits.

Sheikh Hasina also said that if the motor vehicles agreement among Bangladesh, India and Nepal is signed, all the three countries will be benefitted.

While talking about regional connectivity, Sheikh Hasina sought India’s transit in case of bilateral agreement with Nepal and Bhutan or signing separate tripartite deals involving India.

Sheikh Hasina extended her thanks to Narendra Modi for accepting positively the proposal of Bangladesh for naming “Mujibnagar-Nadia Road” as Shadhinata Sharok.

Modi said India took a decision to establish “Bangabandhu Chair” in Delhi University in memory of Bangladesh’s founder as both the premiers have reviewed the bilateral cooperation at different fields marking the 50 years of relations of the two countries.

The Indian premier highly praised for the first pace development under Sheikh Hasina’s dynamic leadership.

Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen, Agriculture Minister Dr Md Abdur Razzaque, State Minister for Foreign Affairs Shahriar Alam, Principal Secretary Dr Ahmad Kaikaus, Foreign Secretary Masud Bin Momen were present at the meeting.

On the other hand, Indian Foreign Secretary Harsh Bardhan Shringla, India’s National Security Adviser Ajit Kumar Dhoval and Indian High Commissioner to Bangladesh Bikram Kumar Doraiswami joined the meeting as part of the Indian delegation.

 

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi today (27 March 2021) said India will always stand by the progress and development of Bangladesh as a faithful friend.

The visiting Indian premier told this as he paid a courtesy call on President M Abdul Hamid at Bangabhaban here this evening. Narendra Modi said as a neighbouring country, Bangladesh has always been considered a loyal friend of India, and his country would always stay beside Bangladesh, President’s press secretary Md Joynal Abedin told after the meeting.

Lauding the socio-economic development of Bangladesh under the charismatic leadership of its Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, Modi said Bangladesh has done tremendous development in recent time.

Welcoming the visiting Indian premier at Bangabhaban, President Abdul Hamid thanked the Prime Minister of India for attending the birth centenary of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and the Golden Jubilee of Bangladesh’s independence.

 

 

The President said his (Modi) visit would be a unique milestone in strengthening the existing diplomatic ties between Bangladesh and India.

During the meeting, the Bangladesh President also expressed sincere thanks to the government of India for conferring the ‘Gandhi Peace Prize 2020′ to Bangabandhu, posthumously in recognition of his outstanding contributions towards social, economic and political transformation through non-violent and other Gandhian methods.

Mentioning Bangladesh and India are very good friends, the President also thanked the Government of India for sending coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine to Bangladesh as a gift.

The President hoped that the vaccines that would come to Bangladesh from India on a commercial basis would also reach here in time.

Referring to India’s support in 1971, the President thanked the Government and people of India for their support and cooperation in the Great War of Liberation.

The Indian premier also signed a visitors’ book at Bangabhaban, where he spent about 30 minutes from 7.05 pm.

Bangladesh Foreign Minister Dr AK Momen, Agriculture Minister Dr Muhammad Abdur Razzak, Indian National Security Adviser Shri Ajit Doval and Indian Foreign Secretary Shri Harsh Vardhan Shringla, among others, were present there.

 

Meanwhile, Bangladesh and India termed the visit of Indian premier Narendra Modi here as the symbol of half-a-century partnership between the two neighbors that has strengthened, matured and evolved as a model for bilateral relations for the entire region.

This was stated today at the ‘Joint Statement’ issued on the occasion of the visit of Prime Minister of India to Bangladesh.

The full text of the joint statement is as below –

1. At the invitation of Prime Minister of the Government of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh, H.E. Sheikh Hasina, Prime Minister of the Republic of India, H.E. Shri Narendra Modi, paid a State Visit to Bangladesh from 26 to 27 March 2021 to join the celebrations of the Golden Jubilee of the Independence of Bangladesh, the Birth Centenary of the Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and 50 years of establishment of diplomatic relations between India and Bangladesh. The visit symbolised the partnership of half-a-century between India and Bangladesh that has strengthened, matured and evolved as a model for bilateral relations for the entire region.

 

2. During the visit, Prime Minister of India called on H.E. Mr. Md. Abdul Hamid, Hon’ble President of Bangladesh on 27 March 2021. The Indian Prime Minister joined the National Day programme, Golden Jubilee celebrations and Mujib Borsho celebration at the National Parade Ground as the Guest of Honour on 26 March 2021. Bangladesh Foreign Minister Dr. A.K. Abdul Momen called on the Prime Minister of India on 26 March 2021.

 

 

 

3. Prime Minister Narendra Modi laid a wreath at the National Martyrs’ Memorial at Savar as a mark of respect to the memory and contribution of the great freedom fighters of Bangladesh. He also paid rich tribute and respect to the memory of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman at the Bangabandhu Mausoleum in Tungipara, Gopalganj.

 

 

India-Bangladesh Partnership

4. Both Prime Ministers held a tete-tete on 27 March 2021 which was followed by delegation level talks. Both the talks were marked by great warmth and cordiality.

The two leaders expressed satisfaction at the excellent state of bilateral relations, based on deep historical and fraternal ties, which reflect an all-encompassing bilateral partnership based on equality, trust and understanding that transcends even a strategic partnership.

5. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina thanked Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his first ever foreign visit to Bangladesh in-person during the ongoing COVID pandemic to join the celebrations. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina expressed her deep appreciation and gratitude for the wholehearted support extended by the Government and people of India, during the critical days of Bangladesh’s Liberation War.

Both Prime Ministers underscored the need for preserving the memory and legacy of the Great Liberation War.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi thanked the Government of Bangladesh for the decision to establish a memorial at Ashuganj in remembrance of the supreme sacrifices made by the valiant members of the Indian Armed Forces during Bangladesh’s War of Independence in 1971.

6. Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed his heartfelt congratulations to the people of Bangladesh on the occasion of Mujib Borsho, 50th anniversary of Bangladesh’s Independence and establishment of diplomatic relations and appreciated Bangladesh’s outstanding achievements in human development, poverty alleviation, counter terrorism, and remarkable economic progress made under the dynamic leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina expressed her appreciation for India’s continuing bilateral cooperation in various sectors.

7. The two leaders expressed satisfaction on the progress of various decisions taken during the visit of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to Delhi in October 2019 and the Virtual Summit on 17 December 2020. Both sides also recalled the successful holding of the Sixth Meeting of the Joint Consultative Commission held in September 2020 and the visit of the External Affairs Minister, Dr. S Jaishankar to Dhaka on 4 March 2021.

8. The two Prime Ministers noted with satisfaction the continued exchange of high-level visits which have helped frame a better understanding on both sides on the various areas of cooperation. They also appreciated the regular holding of meetings of sectoral institutional mechanisms for sustaining the momentum of bilateral relations, particularly during the COVID period.

Joint Celebrations of Historical Links

9. Prime Minister Narendra Modi highlighted that Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, one of the greatest leaders of modern times, will be remembered for his courage and indelible contribution to Bangladesh’s emergence as a sovereign country.

He also recalled the contribution of Bangabandhu in nurturing peace, security and development in the region.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina thanked India for conferring Gandhi Peace Prize for the year 2020 on Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman in recognition of his outstanding contributions towards social, economic and political transformation of Bangladesh through non-violent and other Gandhian methods.

10. Both Prime Ministers jointly inaugurated the Bangabandhu – Bapu Digital Exhibition in Dhaka, which celebrates the life and legacy of these iconic leaders.

The two Prime Ministers affirmed that the legacy and ideals of the two great leaders would continue to inspire the people worldwide, particularly the youth, against oppression.

11. To mark the 50th anniversary of India-Bangladesh friendship, both sides released respective commemorative postage stamps.

It was decided to commemorate 06 December as Maitri Diwas, the day when India recognized Bangladesh in the year 1971.

The Indian side announced the establishment of Bangabandhu Chair at the University of Delhi. In view of the 50th anniversary of the Independence of Bangladesh as well as the establishment of bilateral diplomatic ties, both sides have agreed to jointly commemorate these epochal events in 19 select countries.

12. Both sides noted with satisfaction that the filming of the biopic on Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, under the direction of Indian film director Shyam Benegal, has commenced and is expected to be completed according to schedule. Both sides stressed on the need to commence work on the Liberation War documentary at the earliest.

13. Both sides noted with appreciation the participation of a 122-member tri-services contingent of the Bangladesh Armed Forces in the 2020 Republic Day celebrations of India.

14. Prime Minister Narendra Modi extended an invitation to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to visit India in 2022 in commemoration of the Golden Jubilee of the establishment of diplomatic relations.

15. Both sides welcomed the port call by Indian Naval Ships Sumedha and Kulish on 08-10 March 2021 at Mongla upon the invitation of Bangladesh as part of the commemoration of the epochal occasions. This was the first ever visit to Mongla Port by any Indian Naval Ship. Bangladesh Navy Ship is also scheduled to make port call at Vishakhapatnam as part of the joint celebrations.

16. The Bangladesh side welcomed the decision of the Government of India to announce 1000 Shuborno Jayanti Scholarships for Bangladeshi students for pursuing education/courses in India.

17. Bangladesh Prime Minister thanked the Indian side for considering Bangladesh’s proposal to name the historic road from Mujib Nagar to Nadia on the Bangladesh-India border as “Shadhinota Shorok” commemorating the historic significance of the road during Bangladesh’s Liberation War. Both sides looked forward to inaugurating the road soon as part of the joint celebrations.

Water Resources Cooperation

18. Recalling earlier discussions, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina reiterated Bangladesh’s long-pending request for concluding the interim agreement on the sharing of the waters of the Teesta river.

She underscored that to alleviate the sufferings and save the livelihoods of millions of people dependent on the Teesta river basin, it is necessary that Bangladesh receives its fair share of the Teesta waters, the draft agreement of which has already been agreed upon by both Governments in January 2011.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi reiterated India’s sincere commitment and continued efforts to conclude this agreement, in consultation with the relevant stakeholders. The Indian side also requested for early finalization of the draft of the interim agreement for sharing of water of Feni River, pending with the Bangladesh side which had been agreed upon by both sides in 2011.

19. The two leaders directed their respective Ministries of Water Resources to work towards an early conclusion of the Framework of Interim Agreement on sharing of waters of six common rivers, namely, Manu, Muhuri, Khowai, Gumti, Dharla and Dudhkumar.

20. Bangladesh side reiterated the urgency for India to allow excavation of the remaining portion of Rahimpur Khal for utilization of Kushiyara River waters for irrigation of the Upper Surma Kushiyara project, as the matter is directly linked with the food security of Bangladesh.

In this regard, early concurrence was requested from India on the proposed MoU to be signed between the two countries for the withdrawal of water from the Kushiyara River by both sides, pending signing of the Agreement in this regard.

Indian side conveyed that the MoU was under consideration, in consultation with the relevant State Government.

21. Recalling that the MoU on withdrawal of 1.82 cusec of water from Feni River was signed during the visit of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in October 2019, the Indian side urged the Bangladesh side for early implementation of the MoU.

22. The two Prime Ministers directed the Joint Technical Committee, formed for the purpose, to expeditiously commence the feasibility study of the Ganges-Padma barrage and other alternative options in Bangladesh for optimum utilization of the Ganges waters received by Bangladesh as per the Ganges Water Sharing Treaty, 1996.

23. The two leaders recalled the positive contribution of the Joint Rivers Commission and expressed satisfaction at the recently concluded Secretary level meeting of the Water Resources Ministries of the two countries.

Trade for Growth

24. To enhance trade between the two countries, both Prime Ministers underscored the need for removal of non-tariff barriers. Bangladesh side requested for lifting the new policy of Indian Customs stipulating verification of certificates of origin issued from Bangladesh.

The Indian side conveyed that under the provisions of the new Customs rules, in the event of a conflict between a provision of these rules and rules of origin of a trade agreement, the provisions of the rules of origin of the trade agreement shall prevail. Further, for bilateral trade to flourish, both leaders stressed the need for predictability of trade policies, regulations and procedures.

25. Both Prime Ministers stressed the urgent need for up-gradation of infrastructure and facilities of the Land Customs Stations (LCSs) Land Ports in a coordinated manner to facilitate trade between the two countries.

26. The Indian side reiterated its request for at least one major land port without port restrictions or with negative list of restrictions, on the border with North Eastern Region of India, for easier market access, starting with ICP Agartala-Akhaura.

27. The two Prime Ministers reiterated the importance of harmonization of standards and mutual recognition of agreements and certificates for enhancing bilateral trade.

It was agreed that in the spirit of liberalizing trade between the two countries, Bangladesh Standards and Testing Institute (BSTI) and the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) would collaborate for the capacity building and development of testing and Lab facilities.

28. The Indian side congratulated the Bangladesh side on its upcoming graduation from the LDC status. Recognizing the immense potential of bilateral economic and commercial ties, both sides emphasized on expeditious conclusion of the ongoing joint study on the prospects of entering into a Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA).

29. Underscoring the important role that the jute sector has played in Bangladesh’s economy, the Bangladesh side invited Indian investment in the jute mills of Bangladesh under public-private partnership as part of the government’s decision to revitalize and modernize the jute sector through manufacturing of value added and diversified jute products.

In this regard, Bangladesh side urged more meaningful cooperation in this sector between both countries and requested India to withdraw the duties imposed on export of jute products from Bangladesh since 2017. The Indian side welcomed cooperation in the Jute sector. On anti-dumping duty on jute, Indian side agreed to look into the matter.

30. The Indian side urged the Bangladesh side to remove the existing practices against the Indian companies from participating in tenders floated by various Ministries and the agencies of the Government of Bangladesh. Bangladesh side informed that there is no country-specific restriction in the process.

31. The two Prime Ministers welcomed the opening of new border haats at the agreed locations and hoped that they would be mutually beneficial for the economic development of the people living along the remote and inaccessible points of the border of both countries.

Development Partnership and Cooperation in Power and Energy

32. Both sides took note of the first meeting of the High-Level Monitoring Committee and directed the Committee to provide recommendations for the expeditious execution of projects under the Lines of Credit.

33. Both sides expressed satisfaction at the robust cooperation in the power and energy sector, including between the private sectors.

It was agreed to strengthen sub-regional cooperation, including with Nepal and Bhutan and in this regard cooperation in energy was underscored.

The Indian side emphasized that finalization of regulations and guidelines for cross border trade in electricity would increase sub-regional cooperation.

India requested early finalization of modalities for implementation of the Katihar – Parbotipur – Bornagar cross border electricity interconnection. Both sides welcomed the establishment of a study team in this regard.

Both sides took stock of progress in the implementation of the India Bangladesh Friendship Pipeline and unit-1 of the Maitree Super Thermal Power Project and expressed hope that these projects would get commissioned soon.

34. Recalling that the Framework of Understanding on Cooperation in the Hydrocarbon Sector had been signed in December 2021, both leaders urged the relevant authorities to implement the institutional arrangement at the earliest, which will further enhance bilateral cooperation in this important sector.

Connectivity for Prosperity

35. Both Prime Ministers reiterated the importance of enhancing connectivity for facilitating regional economic integration for the benefit of the all the parties involved. India expressed gratitude for Prime Minister Hasina’s initiative of revitalizing the pre-1965 rail connectivity as well as for Bangladesh’s support for the numerous connectivity initiatives through rail, road and waterways.

In the same spirit, Bangladesh reiterated its eagerness to partner in the ongoing initiative of the India – Myanmar – Thailand trilateral highway project.

To facilitate better connectivity and simplify movement of passengers and goods between both the countries, both leaders agreed to an early operationalization of the BBIN Motor Vehicles Agreement through expeditious signing of the Enabling MoU for Bangladesh, India, and Nepal to commence the movement of goods and passengers, with provision for Bhutan to join at a later date.

36. Bangladesh side also requested India for favourable consideration of the new connectivity routes proposed by Bangladesh, namely allowing additional land ports of Bhadrapur-Bairagi Galgalia, Biratnagar-Jogmani and Birganj-Raxaul to be connected with Banglabandha-Fulbari and Birol-Radhikapur by road as alternative routes.

India was also requested to consider connecting Birol-Radhikapur and Rohanpur-Singhabad rail-interchanges with Biratnagar-Jogmani as this would help reduce the distance and cost of transportation of goods by rail from Bangladesh to Nepal.

Bangladesh side also sought rail connectivity with Bhutan through the newly inaugurated Chilahati-Haldibari route to facilitate rail connectivity with Bhutan.

The Indian side requested the Bangladesh side for cooperation in establishing connectivity between Guwahati and Chattogram and also from Mahendraganj in Meghalaya to Hili in West Bengal. Bangladesh side requested the Indian side for a detailed proposal in this regard.

37. Highlighting the benefits of connectivity and the trial run of trans-shipment of Indian goods from Kolkata to Agartala via Chattogram, the India side urged for early operationalization of the Agreement on the use of Chattogram and Mongla Ports for the Movement of Goods to and from India, including finalization of cost effective pricing and regulatory orders.

38. The Indian side requested for transshipment arrangement in Munshiganj and Pangaon as part of the Protocol on Inland Water Transit and Trade until the completion of the bilateral project to develop Ashuganj Container Terminal. Bangladesh side informed the infrastructure limitations in this regard and that work is being planned for upgradation of the facilities.

39. Prime Minister Modi recalled the recent inauguration of the Maitree Shetu over River Feni and appreciated Bangladesh’s support in materializing this crucial connectivity project.

Bangladesh Prime Minister stated that inauguration of the Feni bridge is a testament to the Bangladesh Government’s continued commitment to support initiatives to strengthen connectivity and economic integration in the region, particularly for the North-East of India.

Both sides agreed to develop remaining trade and travel infrastructure to facilitate the optimal usage of this new bridge.

40. The Prime Minister of Bangladesh offered the use of Chattogram and Sylhet International Airport, by the people of North East India, especially of Tripura. Bangladesh also informed that Saidpur Airport is being developed as a regional airport for the use of the people of this region.

41. With the vaccination drive being on full swing in both countries, both sides agreed to explore resuming regular air travel and lifting restrictions for movement through land ports at the earliest as well as to operationalize the train and bus services between the two countries at the earliest. Noting that the full resumption of travel will depend on the COVID situation, the Indian side expressed hope that the full scale travel will resume soon.

42. Recognizing the ongoing cooperation between the two countries in the sector of education, the two Prime Ministers reaffirmed their commitment to widening this cooperation for mutual benefit.

In this connection, they appreciated the various collaborative arrangements between the universities and educational institutes of the two countries.

Both leaders directed their concerned authorities for early conclusion of the MoU on Mutual Recognition of Academic Qualifications. Bangladesh side offered to conduct short term exchange programmes for interested Indian youth in areas such as fisheries, agriculture, disaster management, SMEs and women empowerment.

Both sides reiterated the desire to continue regular exchanges to promote culture, education, science and technology, youth and sports and mass media.

Cooperation in Public Health

43. Both sides exchanged views on the situation of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic in their respective countries and expressed satisfaction at the manner in which sustained engagement between the two countries has been maintained during this ongoing crisis.

Bangladesh side thanked the Government of India for gifting 3.2 million doses of Oxford Astra Zeneca Covishield vaccine made in India and appreciated the prompt delivery of the first batch of 5 million doses.

Bangladesh side requested the Indian side to facilitate regular delivery of the remaining tranches of vaccine procured by Bangladesh from the Serum Institute of India.

India assured its best cooperation in accordance with its domestic exigencies and international commitments.

44. Both Prime Ministers acknowledged the importance of deeper collaboration between the two countries in the backdrop of Covid-19 pandemic on public health sector particularly in health care services and research. Bangladesh side requested for greater mutual cooperation focusing on training, capacity building, and technology transfer.

Bangladesh side highlighted that Biosecurity Cooperation is an area that may be explored by both sides as the Covid-19 pandemic has revealed that without meaningful biosecurity measures, economic prosperity is at stake, given the interconnected nature of trans-boundary trade and people to people contacts between the two countries.

The two Prime Ministers appreciated the collaboration and active participation under different mechanisms between Indian Council of Medical Research, India and, Bangladesh Medical Research Council, Bangladesh.

Border Management and Security Cooperation

45. Both leaders emphasized the importance of effective border management for ensuring a tranquil, stable and crime free border. Both sides agreed that any death at the border is a matter of concern and directed the concerned border guarding forces to enhance people-oriented measures for ensuring border security and bring down such death of civilians to zero.

Bangladesh side reiterated the request for 1.3 km Innocent Passage through river route along with River Padma near Rajshahi District, on humanitarian grounds. The Indian side assured to consider the request.

Indian side requested for completion of border fencing at all pending sectors at the international border at the earliest, beginning from the Tripura (India) – Bangladesh sector. Bangladesh side assured to look into the matter.

46. Both sides expressed deep satisfaction over the existing defence cooperation between the two countries. In this regard, both Prime Ministers emphasized on the frequent exchange of programs and enhancing cooperation in training and capacity building. The Indian side requested for early operationalization of the Defense Line of Credit.

47. Both sides welcomed the signing of an MoU on Disaster Management, Resilience and Mitigation, noting that this would augment institutional cooperation in mitigating natural disasters.

48. Recognizing that terrorism remains a threat to global peace and security, both sides reiterated their strong commitment to eliminating terrorism in all its forms and manifestations. Prime Minister Modi expressed India’s appreciation for the cooperation extended by Bangladesh in security related matters.

New Areas of Cooperation

49. Recalling that Bangladesh launched its first satellite, Bangabandhu Satellite (BS-1) in 2017, Prime Minister Hasina Sheikh informed that Bangladesh would launch the second satellite soon. In this regard, both the Prime Ministers agreed for further collaboration and technology transfer in space and satellite research.

50. Both sides acknowledged the potential of new and emerging areas of cooperation in bilateral cooperation and directed authorities on both sides to focus on and augment cooperation in cutting edge areas of science, artificial intelligence, peaceful uses of nuclear technology, big data and technology enabled services in health and education. To facilitate further youth exchanges between the two countries, Prime Minister Narendra Modi invited 50 young entrepreneurs from Bangladesh to visit India and present their ideas to venture capitalists.

51. As part of the visit, Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited the Jeshoreshwari Devi Temple in Jashore and Orakandi Temple in Gopalganj on 27 March 2021. Prime Minister lauded the prevailing tradition of religious harmony in Bangladesh.

 

 

 

Forcibly Displaced Persons from the Rakhine State of Myanmar

52. Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed appreciation at the generosity of Bangladesh in sheltering and providing humanitarian assistance to the 1.1 million forcibly displaced persons from the Rakhine State of Myanmar.

Both Prime Ministers reiterated the importance of their safe, speedy and sustainable return to their homeland for the greater security of the region. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina requested India, as a member of the United Nations Security Council, to play a strong role in the early repatriation of the displaced Rohingyas back to Myanmar. India assured its continued support in this regard.

Partners in the Region and the World

53. Both countries agreed to continue working together for common objectives in the United Nations and other multilateral fora.

54. Both leaders emphasized that the regional organizations, such as SAARC and BIMSTEC have an important role to play, particularly in the post-Covid-19 situation. Bangladesh Prime Minister thanked the Indian Prime Minister for convening the SAARC leaders Video Conference in March 2020 and for proposing creation of the SAARC Emergency Response Fund to counter effects of the global pandemic in the South Asian region.

55. Both leaders agreed to further cooperate in regional and sub-regional platform on a priority basis. Towards this goal, they agreed to make BIMSTEC an even more effective vehicle for inter-regional cooperation to achieve the aim of collective prosperity of all member countries.

56. Bangladesh side highlighted that the country would assume chairmanship of the IORA for the first time in October 2021 and requested the support of India for working towards greater maritime safety and security in the Indian Ocean region. Prime Minister Narendra Modi congratulated Bangladesh and assured India’s cooperation in this regard.

57. Bangladesh side thanked the Government of India for confirming support in favour of Bangladesh’s candidate to the post of Director, South East Asian Regional Office of the WHO in 2023.

58. The Indian side expressed optimism that Bangladesh will join the Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure (CDRI), which will enable Bangladesh to exchange its own experiences in infrastructure risk management, standards, financing and recovery mechanism with other member countries.

59. The Indian side also welcomed the decision of Bangladesh to join the New Development Bank.

Signing of Bilateral Documents and Inauguration of Projects

60. The following bilateral documents were signed and exchanged during the visit: i. MoU on Cooperation in the Field of Disaster Management, Resilience and Mitigation; ii.

MoU between Bangladesh National Cadet Corps (BNCC) and National Cadet Corps of India (INCC); iii. MoU on Establishment of a Framework of Cooperation in the Area of Trade Remedial Measures between Bangladesh and India; iv.

Tripartite MoU on Supply of ICT Equipment, Courseware & Reference Books and Training for Bangladesh-Bharot Digital Service and Employment Training (BDSET) Centre; v. Tripartite MoU for Establishment of Sports Facilities at Rajshahi College Field and Surrounding Areas.

61. In a ceremonial event at the Prime Minister’s Office, the two Prime Ministers announced/ unveiled / inaugurated / the following: i. Release of India-Bangladesh Friendship Stamps to commemorate the 50th anniversary of establishment of bilateral diplomatic ties ii.

Foundation stone laying ceremony for a memorial in the honour of the Martyrs of the Indian Armed Forces who sacrificed their lives during Liberation War of 1971 at Ashuganj, Brahmanbaria. iii.

Foundation laying ceremony for Rooppur Power Evacuation Project of five packages (Amin Bazar – Kaliakoir, Rooppur – Dhaka, Rooppur – Gopalganj, Rooppur – Dhamrai, Rooppur – Bogra).

iv. Inauguration of 3 border haats – Nalikata (India) – Saydabad (Bangladesh); Ryngku (India) – Bagan Bari (Bangladesh) and Bholagunj (India) – Bholagunj (Bangladesh) v. Inauguration of Rabindra Bhawan facilities in Kuthibari vi.

Inauguration of ‘Mitali Express’ – passenger train service on Dhaka-New Jalpaiguri-Dhaka route through Chilahati-Haldibari rail link; vii. Announcement of linking the historic road between Mujibnagar and Nadia and naming it as Shadhinota Shorok

62. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi thanked his Bangladesh counterpart Sheikh Hasina for the warmth and cordiality shown and the gracious hospitality extended to him and members of his delegation during their stay in Bangladesh.

 

In a briefing session held today, Indian foreign secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla said Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s current visit excelled the present India-Bangladesh bilateral relationship beyond the boundary of strategic partnership.

“Prime Minister’s (Modi’s) visit to Bangladesh in 2015 made India-Bangladesh relations stronger and more multifaceted … and today our (India-Bangladesh) ties transcended from strategic partnership,” he told reporters at a media briefing this evening at Hotel Sonargaon in the capital.

The Indian foreign secretary arranged the briefing to reveal different outcomes of Modi’s two-day state visit that also featured bilateral talks with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina which were held today.

Pointing out that it is the first overseas tour of Indian premier after a year and half due to COVID-19 pandemic, Shringla said “It reflects that India attaches highest importance to Bangladesh in its ‘neighbourhood first’ policy.”

Terming the visit as ‘historic’, the Indian foreign secretary said, during the bilateral talk, two premiers Sheikh Hasina and Narendra Modi held comprehensive discussions in all areas of cooperation.

 

Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen today said Indian premier Narendra Modi’s visit here reflected the ‘heart-to-heart’ ties between Bangladesh and India while Dhaka wants to ensure development of the entire region utilizing this ‘golden chapter’ of relations.

“This heart-to-heart relation (between Bangladesh and India) will help us to ensure development of both the countries as well as other nations of the region,” he told reporters at a media briefing in the capital.

The foreign minister held the briefing to reveal outcomes of Narendra Modi’s two-day state visit here that also featured bilateral talks with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina held today.

Momen said Dhaka saw the Indian primer’s visit in a very positive way as Modi choose Bangladesh for his first overseas visit after one and a half year amid the COVID 19 pandemic. “This visit is a pride for us … they (India) became very good friend of us,” he said.

About the bilateral talks between premiers of the two countries, the foreign minister said, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina strongly raised the issues of Teesta river water sharing agreement and border killing.

He said the Bangladesh premier strongly underscored the need for alleviating the sufferings and saving the livelihoods of millions of people dependent on the Teesta river basin

Momen said, the Indian premier showed positive approach about the signing of much awaited Teesta water sharing agreement and said they have been sincerely trying to make it possible.

“We do put our confidence on their assurance (signing of Teesta agreement,” he said adding that the Indian side reiterated, in principle, their consent about signing the agreement.

The Indian side also requested for early finalization of the draft of the interim agreement for sharing of water of the Feni River, pending with the Bangladesh side which had been agreed upon by both sides in 2011, he added.

Regarding the border killing issue, Momen said, both the leaders emphasized the importance of effective border management for ensuring a tranquil, stable and crime free border.

Both sides agreed that any death at the border is a matter of concern and directed the concerned border guarding forces to enhance people-oriented measures for ensuring border security and bring down such death of civilians to zero, he said.

Momen said the Indian premier suggested to open more border haat to increase economic activities along the frontier to reduce tragic incident like border killing.

The foreign minister said Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina requested India, as a member of the United Nations Security Council, to play a strong role in the early repatriation of the displaced Rohingyas back to Myanmar.

India assured its continued support in this regard while both the premiers reiterated the importance of their safe, speedy and sustainable return to their homeland for the greater security of the region, he added.

Momen said, both the sides decided to introduce some joint mechanism including holding Bangladesh-India business summit to expedite the economic cooperation between the two countries.

Bangladesh proposed India to use Sydpur, Sylhet and Chittagong airports as regional aviation hub to increase the trade between the two countries.

The foreign minister said the Bangladesh side thanked the India for gifting 3.2 million doses of Oxford Astra Zeneca Covishield vaccine made in India and appreciated the prompt delivery of the first batch of 5 million doses.

The Bangladesh side also requested the Indian side to facilitate regular delivery of the remaining tranches of vaccine procured by Bangladesh from the Serum Institute of India.

India assured its best cooperation in accordance with its domestic exigencies and international commitments.

The foreign minister said both prime ministers reiterated the importance of enhancing connectivity for facilitating regional economic integration for the benefits of all the parties involved.

India expressed gratitude for Prime Minister Hasina’s initiative of revitalizing the pre-1965 rail connectivity as well as for Bangladesh’s support for the numerous connectivity initiatives through rail, road and waterways.

Momen said Modi proposed to set Bangabandhu Chair at Delhi university and introduce the Bangabandhu Lecture series in India.

Besides, the foreign minister said, the two prime ministers discussed about bilateral cooperation on different fields including security, energy, ICT, satellite, artificial intelligence and youth cooperation.

Foreign secretary Masud bin Momen also present at the briefing.

 

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi left here tonight for New Delhi after wrapping up his two-day official visit to attend the celebrations of Bangladesh’s golden jubilee of independence and the birth centenary of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.

A VVIP flight of Air India on boarding the Indian premier along with other entourage members, took off from Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport (HISA) at around 9.30pm, a spokesperson of the foreign ministry told.

Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen saw the Indian premier off at the airport, he added.

Modi was the last among the five South Asian leaders to attend Bangladesh’s grand celebrations.

 

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