Neighbourhood First: India and Bangladesh showcase good neighborliness

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Published: October 7, 2019 1:18:43 PM

The two countries have agreed to deepen Maritime Domain Awareness as well as White Shipping Agreement. Without giving details on Coastal Surveillance System, a government source said that the request was made from the neighbouring country.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina interacted for almost one and a half hours in different formats where the focus was on showcasing the growing relationship between the two countries. (Twitter image)Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina interacted for almost one and a half hours in different formats where the focus was on showcasing the growing relationship between the two countries. (Twitter image)

Leaders of India and Bangladesh met in New Delhi and discussed a wide range of issues ranging from defence and security, maritime awareness and connectivity through land and air for deepening their relations further. As well as a matter relating to Rohingya refugees, Teesta water and the revocation of Article 370.

The visiting leader once again raised concerns on the NRC in short span of ten days and was assured by the Indian side that this was a court-mandated process and “we will see as the situation emerges,” said government sources.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina interacted for almost one and a half hours in different formats where the focus was on showcasing the growing relationship between the two countries. The Prime Minister of Bangladesh is here on a four-day visit and in her first visit to New Delhi after winning elections for the second term in her country; she is accompanied by a strong delegation of 100 businessmen. She co-chaired at the World Economic Forum on Thursday and Friday here.

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According to government sources, the bilateral relations between the two countries has witnessed major growth in the last few years. “Today’s meeting was all about connectivity, water sharing and cheaper LPG for the people in North-Eastern region.” At the end of the talks, the two countries also inked seven agreements and three projects remotely inaugurated.

Both Modi and the visiting leader stated that the relations between the two sides is of priority and that it will help in making lives of people on both sides better.

Energy & Water from Bangladesh

One of the most important projects that were inaugurated included India buying liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) from the neighbouring country meant for Tripura in the North East. “This is critical as not only will it help in increasing trade with Bangladesh but also help the people of North East get LPG at a cheaper rate as the purchasing, bottling and transportation of the LPG will be done from there,” the source explained.

Under this agreement, Omera, Petroleum and Beximco LPG will export LPG to state-owned Indian Oil Corporation (IOC).

One of the seven agreements that were inked today included the one which will get drinking water from Feni River of Bangladesh for a town in Tripura. Under this agreement, India is allowed to draw 1.82 cusecs (cubic seconds) of water.

The other project was the inauguration of a skill development centre which is expected to provide not only basic but also advanced training to the youth of that country on an annual basis which would help them in getting employment in their country in the MSME sectors.

Connectivity & River Waters

As reported earlier the agreement related to the terms for using the Chattogram and Mongla ports in Bangladesh for movement of goods to and from India. This would help in enhancing the trade relations between the two sides.

Under Protocol on Inland Water Transit and Trade, a decision was taken to operationalize the Dhulian-Gadagari-Rajshahi-Daulatdia-Aricha Route (to and fro) and include Daudkandi-Sonamura Route (to and fro).

Early operationalization of the BBIN Motor Vehicles Agreement for movement of goods and passengers between the member countries is expected soon.

Bus service between Dhaka-Siliguri Bus to commence soon to help connecting people.

Air services between the sides increased from existing 61 services per week to 91 services per week and an additional 120 services per week during winter 2020 schedule.

Defence & Maritime Security

The two countries have agreed to deepen Maritime Domain Awareness as well as White Shipping Agreement. Without giving details on Coastal Surveillance System, a government source said that the request was made from the neighbouring country.

Also, it was decided to expedite work towards drawing upon a $ 500 mn Line of Credit in the Defence sector which has been extended by India, for which implementation arrangements have been finalized in April 2019.

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