India, Bangladesh discuss Teesta water sharing issue, Rohingya refugee crisis
India and Bangladesh signed six pacts including one for the construction of a oil pipeline between Siliguri and Parbatipur
New Delhi: India and Bangladesh on Monday signed six pacts including one for the construction of a 129.5 km-long oil pipeline between Siliguri and Parbatipur, and discussed the Teesta river water sharing issue.
The pacts were signed on the sidelines of a visit to Dhaka by foreign secretary Vijay Gokhale who met his Bangladeshi counterpart Mohammed Shahidul Haque.
The discussions also covered the Rohingya refugee crisis between Bangladesh and Myanmar, a PTI report from Dhaka said.
“Six MoUs including India-Bangladesh Friendship pipeline between Siliguri & Parbatipur, agreement between Department of Atomic Energy, India and Bangladesh Atomic Energy Commission, were signed during the visit,” the Indian High Commission in Dhaka said in a Twitter post.
This is part of India’s “endeavour to undertake projects in Bangladesh in various socio-economic sectors, including education, culture, health, community welfare, road infrastructure for which India was providing funds under grant financing,” Gokhale said.
The MoU on the oil pipeline is aimed at transporting diesel from India to Bangladesh with a capacity of 1 million tonnes per annum. It “focuses on deepening bilateral cooperation in the hydrocarbon sector and the mutual benefits for both sides that would accrue from the proposed construction of approximate 129.5 km long oil pipeline from the Siliguri Marketing Terminal of the Numaligarah Refinery Ltd (NRL) in India to the Parbaripur depot of the Bangladesh Petroleum Corporation (BPC),” the Indian high commission added.
In a speech later in the day, Gokhale said New Delhi remained a “committed development partner” of Dhaka and has extended lines of credit of over $8 billion to Bangladesh in the last seven years. “This is the largest amount of credit India has ever committed to any single country....We are confident that this credit will be useful to Bangladesh as it pursues its developmental priorities,” he said.
India also extended full support to Bangladesh’s efforts for resolving the Rohingya crisis, including the early repatriation of the displaced people to Myanmar. “India has been fully supportive of the efforts being made to resolve the crisis, including early repatriation of the displaced people,” Gokhale said in a statement following a meeting with his Bangladesh counterpart Haque on the second day of his three-day Dhaka visit.
India sent relief materials for 300,000 Rohingyas in September under ‘Operation Insaniyat’ to support Bangladesh in its humanitarian efforts, he said, adding New Delhi’s plans for the second phase of such assistance.
He said the assistance included field hospitals with all facilities to extend women and child healthcare while the relief supplies planned for the second phase included milk powder, baby food, dried fish, cooking stoves and cooking fuel, raincoats and gumboots.
“On the Myanmar side, we are providing socio-economic support under our Rakhine State Development Programme including construction of pre-fabricated housing in order to meet the needs of the returning people,” he added.
Bangladesh on its part said it appreciated the Indian gesture.
“We are very happy the way our friend from India is looking at this (Rohingya) issue, looking to peacefully resolve the issue,” Haque said.
Haque said the two discussed all aspects of the relations between the two nations, including the pending Teesta water sharing issue.
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