India, Bangladesh should jointly fight anti-1971 forces, says PM Modi

India, Bangladesh sign seven deals including on Kushiyara river 

September 06, 2022 06:19 pm | Updated September 07, 2022 08:16 pm IST - New Delhi

Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina with Prime Minister Narendra Modi arrive for the delegation-level talks at Hyderabad House in New Delhi on Tuesday.

Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina with Prime Minister Narendra Modi arrive for the delegation-level talks at Hyderabad House in New Delhi on Tuesday. | Photo Credit: V.V. Krishnan

India and Bangladesh should resolve all bilateral issues including the difference over the waters of the Teesta, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said here on Tuesday. After holding bilateral talks with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the visiting leader described India as the "most important and closest neighbour" that is bound with Bangladesh through 54 common rivers and four thousand kilometres of border. The two sides signed seven agreements covering railways, science and technology, space cooperation, media, and water sharing.

Welcoming Ms. Hasina, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said, India will walk beside Bangladesh to defeat the anti-1971 forces.

"The two countries had resolved many outstanding issues in the spirit of friendship and cooperation and we hope that all outstanding issues including Teesta Water Sharing Treaty would be concluded at an early date," said Prime Minister Hasina referring to the long standing riparian issue that has eluded resolution. The two sides however made a significant beginning in river water sharing by reaching an agreement on withdrawal of water from the common border river Kushiyara that will supply water to parts of lower Assam as well as Sylhet of Bangladesh.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi highlighted the values that made India and Bangladesh to put up a joint fight in the war of 1971 and said, “In order keep the spirit of 1971 alive, it is necessary that we should confront those forces that want to hurt our common values.

Foreign Secretary Vinay Mohan Kwatra in a press interaction said that the agreement over Kushiyara was the first river-related agreement that the two sides reached 26 years after the conclusion of the Ganga Waters Agreement of 1996. He also said that India has extended the period of sharing flood water related information in real time that will help Bangladesh counter the annual floods. Mr Kwatra did not mention the impact of the crisis in Ukraine on the economic prospects of the South Asian region, but hinted at it saying, that the two leaders discussed "regional and global issues".

The Ministry of Railways of India and the Ministry of Railways of Bangladesh signed an agreement on training of personnel of Bangladesh Railway in India. .

Also Read | A lot is at stake for India-Bangladesh ties

India, Bangladesh sign MoUs in the presence of PM Modi and PM Hasina
| Video Credit: ANI

In a bid to help Bangladesh deal with the energy crisis, the two leaders unveiled the Unit 1 of Maitree power plant, a 1320 MW super critical coal fired thermal power plant at Rampal in Khulna division of Bangladesh. The project is being set up at an approximate budget of $2 billion out of which $1.6 billion was Indian Development Assistance.

"Bangladesh will get greater access to affordable electricity because of the Maitree thermal power plant's first unit," said Prime Minister Modi referring to the difficulties that the developing countries are facing in because of the growing energy prices worldwide. The Hindu had reported earlier that India had taken note of the deteriorating energy scenario in Bangladesh especially after the Hasina government increased energy prices recently and both sides were in talks to deal with the situation.

External Affairs Minister Dr S Jaishankar also praised the energy project saying, "The close neighborly relations between India-Bangladesh transcends all partnerships. Projects unveiled today reinforce our commitment for the development of the region.”

Also Read | ‘India should join hands with Bangladesh to create peace in Chittagong’

The two sides also inaugurated the Rupsha rail bridge which will help in connecting Khulna with Mongla port and the Indian border at Petrapole and Gede in West Bengal. The connectivity initiatives are part of the ongoing projects in Bangladesh that are aimed at converting the country into a major connectivity hub of South and Southeast Asia.

The issue of connectivity found mention in the speech that Prime Minister Modi made welcoming Ms Hasina in India. "Extension of connectivity between our two countries will help the economies of both sides to connect better and support each other," said Prime Minister Modi. Two sides also agreed to start discussion on a Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) later this year.

Mr Kwatra said negotiation for the CEPA would be completed by the time Bangladesh graduates from the Least Developed Country to a developing economy in the near future.

PM Hasina met with President Droupadi Murmu in the evening. On Wednesday, she will hand over Mujib scholarships to 200 family members of the personnel of the Indian military who were killed or wounded during the Liberation War of 1971. She will next travel to Ajmer Sharif for a special prayer.

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