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Hasina, Modi reaffirm pledge to eliminate terrorism in the region

  • Diplomatic Correspondent
  • 7th September, 2022 10:34:19 PM
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Hasina, Modi reaffirm pledge to eliminate terrorism in the region

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Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and her Indian counterpart Narendra Modi reiterated their strong commitment to eliminate terrorism in all its forms and manifestations and decided to further strengthen their cooperation to counter and prevent the spread of terrorism, violent extremism and radicalisation in the region and beyond.

According to a joint statement issued on Wednesday on the State visit of the Bangladesh Prime Minister, both sides held comprehensive discussions on all aspects of bilateral relations and exchanged views on regional and international issues.

Noting with satisfaction that the number of deaths due to incidents along the border has significantly reduced, both sides agreed to work towards bringing the number down to zero.

“Both sides noted with appreciation the stepped up efforts by the two border guarding forces against smuggling of arms, narcotics and fake currency and to prevent trafficking, particularly of women and children,” reads the 33-point joint statement.

The two leaders held a summit at Hyderabad House on Tuesday during which they jointly inaugurated five major projects being implemented by the Indian financial assistance and signed seven Memorandums of Understandings (MOUs).

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, the draft of which was finalized in 2011. Both Leaders also directed the officials to work together to address issues such as pollution in rivers and to improve riverine environment and river navigability in respect of common rivers.

The leaders appreciated the decision of Joint Rivers Commission for widening the area of cooperation by including additional number of rivers for prioritising the exchange of data and formulating the framework of the interim water sharing agreements.

Sheikh Hasina and Narendra Modi also expressed satisfaction at the intensification of bilateral defence ties and also agreed for early finalisation of projects under the Line of Credit for defence, which would be beneficial for both the countries.

They welcomed the recent finalisation of a Joint Feasibility Study which recommended that Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) will be beneficial for both countries. The two leaders directed trade officials on both sides to start negotiations within the calendar year 2022 and to complete these at the earliest, in time for Bangladesh’s final graduation from LDC status.

The Indian side requested the Bangladesh side for cooperation for initiating new sub-regional connectivity projects, including a highway from Hili in West Bengal to Mahendraganj in Meghalaya through Bangladesh, and in this regard, proposed preparation of a Detailed Project Report.

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

The Bangladesh side also requested the Indian side to assist in meeting its domestic requirement for petroleum products. The Indian side agreed to facilitate discussions between the authorised agencies of both sides.

Reiterating the importance of facilitating trade between the two countries, they stressed the urgent need for up-gradation of infrastructure and facilities at the Land Customs Stations/Land Ports, and for removal of port restrictions and other non-tariff barriers at identified Land Custom Stations.

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

The Bangladesh side requested the Indian side for predictable supply of the essential food commodities from India such as rice, wheat, sugar, onion, ginger and garlic. The Indian side conveyed that Bangladesh’s requests will be favourably considered based on prevalent supply conditions in India, and all efforts will be made in this regard.

The two leaders underscored the importance of implementing bilateral and sub-regional rail, road, and other connectivity initiatives. They agreed to expedite efforts to improve bilateral and sub-regional connectivity through early operationalisation of the BBIN Motor Vehicle Agreement.