Bangladesh and India have agreed to work closely together to strengthen bilateral cooperation further in the areas of common rivers and water resources management.
The next-door nations reached the agreement at the seventh meeting of the Joint Consultative Commission (JCC) held in New Delhi on Sunday.
Both the ministers called for cooperation in various other areas, including IT and cyber-security, renewable energy, agriculture and food security, sustainable trade, climate change and disaster management.
Both the sides reiterated the importance of safe, speedy and sustainable return of the forcibly-displaced people from Rakhine State of Myanmar, currently sheltered by Bangladesh, according to a joint press release issued late on Sunday night.
The foreign ministers recalled the warmth shared by both sides, borne out of the shared sacrifices of the 1971 Liberation War of Bangladesh, that have forged close historical and friendly relations that transcend the traditional notion of a strategic partnership.
They welcomed the further strengthening of bilateral ties with the unprecedented visits by both the President and the Prime Minister of India to Bangladesh in 2021 to jointly commemorate three epochal events - the birth centenary of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman; the fiftieth anniversary of the independence of Bangladesh and the golden anniversary of India-Bangladesh diplomatic ties.
A role model for bilateral and regional cooperation, the ministers appreciated that the trust and mutual respect shared between the two countries has only strengthened in the last decade.
Noting that this was the first in-person JCC meeting convened since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, with the previous edition held virtually in 2020, the two ministers appreciated the efforts undertaken by both the countries to jointly fight the deadly disease.
Momen and Jaishankar comprehensively reviewed all areas of ongoing cooperation, including the implementation of decisions taken during the visits of President Ram Nath Kovind in December 2021 and of Prime Minister Narendra Modi in March 2021, Virtual Summit between the Prime Ministers of the two countries in December 2020, as well as the last virtual meeting of the JCC in September 2020.
The ministers expressed satisfaction that despite challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic, both countries have worked closer than ever before in every sector, from security and border management to mutually beneficial trade and investment flows, as well as enhanced bilateral and sub-regional multimodal connectivity, greater power and energy cooperation, developmental assistance and capacity building exchanges, cultural and closer people-to-people ties.
Both the ministers appreciated that in addition to the high-level visits, there has been intensive engagements through various bilateral mechanisms and agreed to further enhance partnership-building efforts with renewed vigour and regularity.
In this regard, they tasked their officials to accelerate cooperation, with further attention paid to addressing issues and finding durable solutions for the mutual benefit of both the peoples.
Acknowledging the excellent bilateral ties shared between the two countries, the ministers reiterated the importance of closer cooperation to expeditiously implement the Leaders’ decisions and to further deepen and strengthen mutual engagement across all sectors of bilateral cooperation.
It was agreed that the 8th round of India-Bangladesh JCC will be held in Bangladesh in 2023.