India, Bangladesh to set up mechanism to monitor bilateral projects

Anurag Srivastava  

India and Bangladesh will set up a mechanism to monitor bilateral projects, an official of the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said on Thursday. The announcement came a day after Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla returned after holding talks with the leadership of Bangladesh in Dhaka, where both sides agreed to jointly deal with the border killings and establish a closer partnership to deal with the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis.

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“The two countries also proposed that a high-level monitoring mechanism be set up to regularly review the progress of the ongoing projects,” said Anurag Srivastava, Official Spokesperson of the MEA.

The monitoring mechanism is expected to assist in timely completion of several ongoing projects, including the Rampal Maitree Power Plant, India-Bangladesh Friendship Pipeline, and rail links between Akhaura-Agartala, Chilahati-Haldibari and Khulna-Mongla rail line that are to be completed by 2021.

The announcement comes weeks after it was alleged that India-backed projects had slowed down in Bangladesh, where Chinese-financed initiatives were going ahead briskly. Bangladesh, however, maintained that joint projects with India were not running behind schedule and cleared the ₹1,000 crore Baraiyarhat-Heyanko-Ramgarh connectivity project in northern Chittagong region on Tuesday before Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina sat down for a discussion with Mr. Shringla.

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The Spokesperson reiterated that the Joint Consultative Commission led by the Foreign Ministers of India and Bangladesh will be convened “shortly” and it will “review the entire gamut of bilateral relationship, including the projects”.

The development projects that are on way to completion in the next few months are also crucial as this year marks the centenary of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, the ‘Father of the Nation of Bangladesh’ as well as 50th year of establishment of formal diplomatic ties between the two sides.

India plans to issue a commemorative stamp on Sheikh Mujibur Rahman during this year, which is officially known as ‘Mujib Barsho’. Prime Minister Modi’s March visit to Dhaka to inaugurate ‘Mujib Barsho’ celebrations was cancelled because of the spread of the pandemic in South Asia, but both sides continued consultation on measures to counter the threat.

Foreign Secretary Shringla, during his August 18-19 Dhaka visit, conveyed to his counterpart Masud Bin Momen that India will share its own COVID-19 advances with Bangladesh on a “priority basis”. “Both sides agreed to continue their discussions in the area of vaccines and therapeutics,” said Mr. Srivastava.

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Printable version | Dec 5, 2020 2:47:33 AM |

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