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India, Bangladesh sign 7 pacts to boost bilateral ties

PM Narendra Modi and Bangladesh PM Sheikh Hasina at the delegation level talks in New Delhi on Tuesday (Image courtesy: PIB)

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Bangladeshi counterpart Sheikh Hasina today reiterated their commitment to boost bilateral ties and integrate economic activities between the two countries.

As many as seven memoranda of understanding (MoUs) were signed in the presence of the two Prime Ministers at New Delhi.

Issues related to linking of power transmission lines, IT sector and nuclear energy besides sharing of river water were taken up at the high-level meetings between the two sides.

India has extended about $9.5 billion to Bangladesh in concessional loans.

Several connectivity projects including Khulna-Darshana and Parbatipur-Kaunia railway lines among others have been taken up.

“We both believe that by taking lessons from the Covid pandemic and recent global developments, we need to make our economies stronger,” PM Modi said while addressing the joint press conference after the meeting.

He added that rising energy prices are becoming a challenge for all developing countries.

As expected, Modi said that the two countries will soon start discussions on a bilateral Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA).

“At the new dawn of the Amrit Kaal for the next 25 years, I extend our best wishes as India moves forward to attaining the resolutions made for Aatmanirbhar Bharat,” Hasina said, adding that the meetings between the Indian and Bangladeshi authorities were “in the spirit of close friendship and cooperation.

“We discussed a wide range of bilateral issues to take forward our relationship in the days ahead,” she said.

The two leaders also remotely unveiled Unit-1 of the 1320 MW (660×2) Maitree super thermal power plant at Rampal in Bangladesh which is being set up as a joint venture between the two countries at an estimated cost of about $2 billion with $1.6 billion as Indian Development Assistance under Concessional Financing Scheme. They also jointly inaugurated the 5.13 km Rupsha rail bridge, which is a key part of the 64.7 km Khulna-Mongla Port broad gauge rail project.

An agreement regarding water-sharing of Kushiyara River was also signed, which is expected to benefit the southern part of Assam and the Sylhet region in Bangladesh.

During the joint address, PM Modi noted that 54 rivers flow through the India-Bangladesh border and are linked to the livelihood of people in both countries.

Modi assured Hasina that India will “continue to walk step by step with Bangladesh in realizing the vision of a stable, prosperous and progressive Bangladesh that Bangabandhu had seen.”

The two leaders also discussed other regional and international issues.

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