India, Bangladesh reiterate commitment to eliminate terrorism


New Delhi: India and Bangladesh on Thursday reiterated their strong commitment to eliminating terrorism in all its forms and manifestations.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Bangladesh counterpart Sheikh Hasina on Thursday held a virtual summit, during which they jointly inaugurated Chilahati-Haldibari rail route, linking the two neighbouring countries.

According to a joint statement, both sides held comprehensive discussions on all aspects of bilateral relations and exchanged views on regional and international issues.
“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,” read the statement.

PM Modi and Hasina expressed satisfaction over the current state of the bilateral relations based on “shared bonds of history, culture, language, and other unique commonalities that characterise the partnership”.

“They emphasised that relations between Bangladesh and India are based on fraternal ties and reflective of an all-encompassing partnership based on sovereignty, equality, trust and understanding that transcend a strategic partnership,” the statement read.

They paid tribute to the martyrs of the Liberation War of Bangladesh, the Muktijoddhas and the Indian soldiers, for their sacrifices in 1971. “They vowed to uphold and protect the cherished values of democracy and equality in line with the aspirations of the people of the two friendly countries,” it added.

The two sides signed seven Memoranda of Understanding, including on hydrocarbon sector.

According to the joint statement, the two leaders welcomed the signing of the Framework of Understanding on Cooperation in the Hydrocarbon Sector, which would further augment energy linkages by streamlining investments, technology transfer, joint studies, training and promoting hydrocarbon connectivity.

“Both sides expressed satisfaction at the robust cooperation in the power and energy sector, including with the private sector. It was agreed to expedite implementation of projects, including India-Bangladesh Friendship Pipeline, Maitree Super Thermal Power Project as well as other projects,” the statement read.

During the summit, New Delhi and Dhaka agreed to strengthen sub-regional cooperation, including with Nepal and Bhutan on energy.

“It was also agreed to enhance cooperation in energy efficiency and clean energy, including in biofuels. In line with the commitment of both the countries to move towards green, clean, renewable sources of energy, it was agreed to strengthen sub-regional cooperation, including with Nepal and Bhutan. Both sides also agreed to strengthen cooperation in the area of power and energy connectivity,” it added.

Prime Minister Hasina highlighted the need for early signing of an interim agreement for sharing the Teesta waters, as agreed upon by both the governments in 2011.
Prime Minister Modi reiterated India’s sincere commitment and continued efforts in that regard.

The two leaders also underscored the need for an early conclusion of Framework of Interim Agreement on sharing waters of six joint rivers, namely, Manu, Muhuri, Khowai, Gumti, Dharla and Dudhkumar.

During the summit, both the leaders agreed to facilitate completion of border fencing at all pending sectors between both the countries at the earliest beginning with Tripura (India)-Bangladesh sector.

Both leaders also agreed that the loss of civilian lives at the border is a matter of concern and directed the border forces concerned to enhance coordinated measures to work towards bringing such border incidents to zero.

“The leaders stressed on full implementation of the ongoing Coordinated Border Management Plan. Both sides noted with satisfaction the recent stepped-up efforts of the two border guarding forces against smuggling of arms, narcotics and fake currency and to prevent trafficking, particularly of women and children,” it added.

PM Modi and Hasina agreed to hold an early meeting of the Joint Boundary Conference to prepare a new set of strip maps, along the stretch of Icchamati, Kalindi, Raimongol and the Hariabhanga rivers from Main Pillar 1 to Land Boundary terminus, with a view to finalising the delineation of the boundaries as fixed. It was agreed to carry out necessary work to convert the International Boundary along Kuhsiyara river into a fixed boundary.

Prime Minister Hasina deeply appreciated the “warm gesture” of India in organising various events on the occasion of ongoing “Mujib Borsho (centennial birth anniversary of Bangladeshi leader Sheikh Mujibur Rahman)”.

The two Prime Ministers jointly unveiled a commemorative postal stamp issued by the Government of India on the birth centenary of Bangabandhu Rahman.

In turn, Prime Minister Modi thanked Bangladesh government for issuing a stamp in honour of Mahatma Gandhi earlier in September 2020, to mark Gandhiji’s 150th birth anniversary.

Noting that 2021 will be historic in India-Bangladesh bilateral relations as the countries would be commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Liberation War and the establishment of diplomatic relations between the neighbours, it was agreed to jointly organise several activities to commemorate the epochal events in India, Bangladesh and third countries.

Prime Minister Hasina requested the Indian side to consider Bangladesh’s proposal to name the historic road from Mujib Nagar to Nadia on Bangladesh-India border as “Shadhinota Shorok” commemorating the historic significance of the road during the Bangladesh Liberation War.

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

Recognising the immense potential of bilateral economic and commercial ties, both the Prime Ministers directed the officials to expeditiously conclude the ongoing joint study on the prospects of entering into a bilateral Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA), according to the statement.

Prime Minister Hasina also appreciated the work of the New Development Bank and thanked India for inviting Bangladesh to join the Institution. She welcomed the work of the bank in multiple sectors, including infrastructure development and expressed Bangladesh’s willingness to be a part of the initiative.

Hasina also thanked Prime Minister Modi for accepting her invitation to visit Bangladesh in person in March 2021 to join the celebrations of the 50th anniversary of Bangladesh’s independence and 50 years of Bangladesh-India diplomatic relations. (ANI)