In a strong message, India and Bangladesh today called for strong action against States and entities which encourage, support and finance terrorism, provide sanctuaries to terror networks and falsely extol their virtues. During their talks, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Bangladesh counterpart Sheikh Hasina, called upon the international community to end selective approaches to combat terrorism and emphasised that there should no glorification of terrorists as martyrs, seen as an apparent reference to Pakistan.
The issue of long-pending Teesta water-sharing pact also figured in the talks and a joint statement said Hasina requested Modi for conclusion of the agreement as agreed upon by both governments in January 2011.
“Prime Minister Modi reiterated that his government is working with all stakeholders in India for an early conclusion of the agreement,” the statement said.
Recognising terrorism as one of the most significant threats to peace and stability in the region, the two prime ministers reiterated their strong commitment to combat terrorism in all its forms and manifestations.
In this regard, they also called for the early finalisation and adoption of a Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism by the United Nations.
“The fight against terrorism should not only seek to disrupt and eliminate terrorists, terror organisations and networks, but should also identify, hold accountable and take strong measures against States and entities which encourage, support and finance terrorism, provide sanctuary to terrorists and terror groups, and falsely extol their virtues,” the joint statement said.
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The two leaders also condemned the recent “barbaric terror attacks” in India and Bangladesh and called for urgent measures to counter and prevent spread of terrorism, violent extremism and radicalisation in the region and beyond.
They also expressed determination to take concrete measures to further step up cooperation and coordination among intelligence and security agencies of both countries.
Modi and Hasina reiterated their commitment to ensure that their respective territories would not be allowed to be used for any activities inimical to the other.
They also underscored the need for effective operationalisation of the bilateral Extradition Treaty.
Modi and Hasina felt that effective implementation of the Coordinated Border Management Plan (CBMP) would enable better border management to jointly manage the identified vulnerable areas, irregular movement and incidents of violence along the border.
“Both Prime Ministers reiterated that the number of deaths at the border must be brought down to zero and directed the concerned authorities to work towards that end.
On the issue of water sharing, the two prime ministers also directed officials concerned to conclude discussions on various aspects relating to sharing of waters of the Feni, Manu, Muhuri, Khowai, Gumti, Dharla and Dudhkumar rivers.
“The two prime ministers appreciated the positive steps taken in respect of Bangladesh’s proposal for jointly developing the Ganges Barrage on the river Padma in Bangladesh,” said the joint statement.
In the meeting, Modi also announced a special medical scheme under which 100 Muktijoddhas (freedom fighters) of Bangladesh will be provided medical treatment in Indian hospitals every year.
He also extended the Muktijoddha Scholarship Scheme for 10,000 heirs of Muktijhoddhas for another 5 years.
Both sides agreed that next meeting of the Joint Consultative Commission will take place this year in Dhaka.
In the meeting, the two prime ministers welcomed the identification of a number of projects in the areas of port construction, railways, roads, airports, power and energy, telecommunications in Bangladesh to be implemented under the 3rd Line of Credit of USD 4.5 billion being given by India.
The statement said both sides underlined the need for bringing about greater integration of power and energy supply networks.
Both the prime ministers also welcomed the signing of an MOU between Petrobangla and Petronet for the setting up of a Joint Venture Re-gasification LNG Terminal at Kutubdia Island.
The meeting also reviewed progress made in towards construction of the Indo-Bangla Friendship pipeline from Siliguri to Parbatipur for supply of high speed diesel to Bangladesh and both sides have agreed to sign a sales and purchase agreement in this regard.
The two prime ministers emphasised the need to further strengthen and consolidate defence cooperation through greater military-to-military training and exchanges.
Both sides also resolved to work closely in furthering regional and sub-regional cooperation processes.
The joint statement said Modi and Hasina also expressed their shared commitment to promote regional cooperation, particularly in the areas of trade, transportation, connectivity, energy and counter-terrorism within the BIMSTEC framework.
The views assume significance with Pakistan blocking several regional initiatives at SAARC.