Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said on Tuesday her country would seek duty free access for some of its products to Indian markets during her coming visit to New Delhi. She directed the ministries concerned to finalise the list of those products and prepare strategic papers to further strengthen regional cooperation.

Ms. Hasina was presiding over the second meeting of the Regional and Sub-Regional Cooperation Committee on Tuesday. The meeting was arranged to discuss the areas where Bangladesh and India could be more cooperative and what agreements could be signed during Ms. Hasina’s visit, reported state news agency BSS.

Presiding over the high-level meeting, Ms. Hasina laid emphasis on a number of areas, including road, rail and river links, people-to-people connectivity, environment, access to media and telecommunications, environment, agriculture, education, maritime boundary, power, agriculture, trade and business and regional tourism. She asked the ministries concerned to prepare outlines on the specific agendas ahead of her visit to India. She said India had an important role in increasing connectivity in the region.

Describing poverty as the main enemy in South Asia, she said: “We can exchange our needs and demands by maintaining friendly relations with our neighbouring countries.” Besides, bilateral discussions could take place on agriculture, education and maritime boundary during the visit, she said.

Ms. Hasina directed the ministries concerned to finalise the outline of the projects on construction of the Agartala-Akhaura rail link, establishment of Open Alternative Submarine Cable Link, construction of rail-cum-road bridge over the river Karnaphuli at Kalurghat, support to post harvest technology, value addition of fruits and vegetables. She feels that these projects will help enhance regional cooperation.

The meeting was attended, among others, by Finance Minister Abul Maal Abdul Muhith, Agriculture Minister Begum Matia Chowdhury, Water Resources Minister Ramesh Chandra Sen, Commerce Minister Muhammad Faruk Khan, Communications Minister Abul Hossain, Shipping Minister Shahjahan Khan, Prime Minister’s Adviser H.T .Imam, Mashiur Rahman and Towfiq-e-Elahi Chowdhury.

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