India and Bangladesh are all set to strengthen their bilateral relations and some agreements are on the anvil to be inked between the two sides when Prime Minister Narendra Modi meets his counterpart from Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.
The two leaders will meet for bilateral discussions on Tuesday in New Delhi and will discuss critical issues including maritime cooperation, enhancing trade relations, border management, drug and human trafficking, water sharing of common rivers, power and energy cooperation among other issues.
Agreements likely to be signed
Agreements expected to be inked, according to reports, will be related to railways, science and technology, water management, and broadcasting.
The leaders are expected to firm up the operationalisation of the Line of Credit of US $500 million which India has extended to Bangladesh in 2019 for procuring defence equipment.
There will be a joint statement at the end of the talks.
Details about the visit
In her first visit since Covid-19 pandemic, the Prime Minister of Bangladesh is on a state visit at the invitation of Prime Minister Modi. The last she visited was in 2019. In 2021, Prime Minister Modi had visited Dhaka to take part in celebrations related to the 50th anniversary of the neighbouring country’s Independence.
As reported by Financial Express Online earlier, the visiting Prime Minister of neighbouring Bangladesh is accompanied by a high level official delegation with almost dozen ministers, including Foreign Minister Momen, her economic affairs advisor Mashiur AKM Rahman, Commerce Minister Tipu Munshi, Railways Minister Md Nurul Islam Sujan, and Liberation War Minister A K M Mozammel Haq.
The visiting leader on Tuesday evening will also participate in a business forum in New Delhi. And an agreement between two leading industry bodies is expected. Financial Express Online has reported earlier that PM Hasina will award scholarships to the descendents of 200 Indian military personnel. They are those who either sustained severe injuries or died during the 1971 war which had led to the birth of Bangladesh.
On September 8, the visiting leader will leave for Rajasthan.
More about India & Bangladesh Bilateral Relations
According to sources, in South Asia the neighbouring country is India’s biggest trade partner and is also the fourth largest export destination for goods from India. The two way bilateral trade from $9 billion has grown to $18 billion in the past five years.
During the Covid-19 global pandemic lockdown, the well connected rail system between the two countries was the life line used for moving essential commodities to the neighbouring country.
It was for the first time that “Oxygen Express” of Indian Railways was used to transport Liquid Medical Oxygen in Railway containers to Bangladesh. Sources have confirmed that in total 20 Oxygen Express Trains were operated to help in fighting Covid.
Important connectivity initiatives have been achieved between the two sides, despite Covid-19 lockdown. This includes: Maitri Setu Bridge over River Feni in Tripura has been inaugurated; inauguration of Chilahati-Haldibari rail link. As reported earlier in Financial Express Online, five out of the six pre 1965 cross border rail links have been operationalised.
Passenger train Mitali Express from New Jalpaiguri to Dhaka, using the Chilahati-Haldibari cross border rail link, was inaugurated in June this year.
Trial runs under the Agreement on the use of Chattogram and Mongla port for movement of goods to and fro from India through the Chattogram and Mongla port have been conducted.
It is the largest development partner of India and the total number of contracts have crossed the milestone figure of US $2 billion. And total disbursements have crossed $1 billion, sources told Financial Express Online.
To improve connectivity between the two countries, bulk projects include roads and transport, railways, inland waterways, ports and shipping, and aviation. Other projects cover the ICT, petrochemicals, waste management and economic zones.
India has also undertaken High Impact Community Development Projects (HICDPs). Out of the 88 such projects around 72 have been completed in areas like water, health, disaster management, education and other community welfare projects.