Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has voiced her strong resolve to work together with India for mutual development but insisted that the neighbour needs to quickly move forward on some issues.
“India needs to move forward quickly on some pending issues so that the two countries can work to implement the agreed decisions,” said the Premier. She made the remarks when a 16-member delegation comprising Chief Minister of Meghalaya Mukul Sangma and Chief Minister of Arunachal Nabam Tuki met her on Thursday. She also told the delegation that there is a high expectation about the Teesta water sharing deal to be signed soon. Cooperation is the only way to tap the potentials of both the countries for mutual benefit in this globalised world, said the Bangladesh leader.
“This relationship has scaled new heights following the reciprocal visits of the Premiers of India and Bangladesh to each other's country,” she said. “There are many unexplored avenues in which the two countries can co-operate each other”. The scope for cooperation is immense and both sides should not only limit themselves to physical connectivity.
She underlined the need for bolstering trade relations with the Indian northeastern states and said both the countries could take more business-friendly steps to boost trade. On the import of hydroelectricity from Arunachal, she said Bangladesh could import power from them or could go for joint-venture power production in Arunachal.
Ms. Hasina's government has concluded a host of forward-looking accords with India but is facing strong criticism from the opposition for not being able to sign the vital Teesta water sharing deal and also for non-implementation of the border protocols. However, she told the Indian delegation that Bangladesh attaches highest importance to its relations with India. She also noted that the exchange of visits enabled the two sides to work out a matrix for the evolution of the bilateral relations harnessing the available synergies for mutual benefit. The scope for cooperation is immense and both sides should not only limit themselves to physical connectivity, she added.
The Premier was also keen to explore investment opportunities in the power sector in the northeast and expressed her satisfaction that the officials have agreed to explore grid connectivity for transmission of power from the northeast to Bangladesh. She also recalled the support and contributions of the people and the government of India and particularly the neighbouring states of the northeast during the War of Liberation in 1971. In this regard, she said her government would take more trade-friendly steps to expand the trade ties with the northeastern states.
The Indian delegation told the Prime Minister that the bilateral relations had expanded and there had been socioeconomic development of the people of the northeast states. They noted that there were more scope of cooperation between the northeast states and Bangladesh in the fields of energy, tourism, horticulture, food processing and education.
They requested Dhaka to increase the number of border haats (common marketplace) for strengthening the bond, and emphasised on sub-regional cooperation. The delegation also stressed the need for expanding the road connectivity of Dhaka-Agartala-Dhaka. They said there was immense scope of cooperation in the fields of energy, tourism, food processing and education.
Tripura Industries and Commerce Minister Jiten Choudhury, Arunachal Industries Minister Tapang Taloh and Assam Public Health Gautam Roy and High Commissioner to Bangladesh Pankaj Saran were present at the meeting.