‘Extensive discussion on boosting defence cooperation’ says PM Modi after meeting Bangladesh PM Sheikh Hasina

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Bangladeshi PM Sheikh Hasina held discussions to enhance cooperation in trade and connectivity.

Mausam Jha
First Published22 Jun 2024, 02:06 PM IST
New Delhi, Jun 22 (ANI): Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Bangladesh PM Sheikh Hasina share a light moment during the ceremonial reception, at the forecourt of Rashtrapati Bhavan, in New Delhi on Saturday. (ANI Photo/Shrikant Singh)
New Delhi, Jun 22 (ANI): Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Bangladesh PM Sheikh Hasina share a light moment during the ceremonial reception, at the forecourt of Rashtrapati Bhavan, in New Delhi on Saturday. (ANI Photo/Shrikant Singh)(Shrikant Singh)

Prime Minister Narendra Modi engaged in extensive discussions on Saturday with his Bangladeshi counterpart, Sheikh Hasina, who is on a two-day visit to India.

PM Modi said that to strengthen our defence ties further, “we had detailed discussions from defence production to modernisation of armed forces”.

This visit marks a foreign leader's first incoming bilateral state visit since the new Indian government was formed after the Lok Sabha elections.

PM noted, “We have decided to strengthen our cooperation over counter-terrorism, fundamentalism and peaceful management of the border. Our vision for the Indian Ocean Region is the same. We welcome Bangladesh's decision to join the Indo-Pacific Oceans Initiative. We will continue our cooperation at BIMSTEC and other regional and international forums.”


Initiate talks on 1996 Ganga Water Treaty

PM Modi said that both countries have kept connectivity, commerce and collaboration as our focus. “In the last 10 years, we have restored the connectivity that existed before 1965. We will now focus on digital and energy connectivity even more. This will speed up the economies of both countries”

PM further noted, “both sides are ready to initiate talks on CEPA to take our economic ties to new heights. 54 rivers connect India and Bangladesh - we have cooperated over flood management, early warning and drinking water projects.”

He added, “We have decided to initiate technical-level talks on the renewal of the 1996 Ganga Water Treaty. A technical team will visit Bangladesh soon to discuss the conservation and management of the Teesta River.”

What is 1996 Ganga water treaty?

The 1996 treaty on sharing Ganges waters at Farakka aimed to resolve longstanding disputes between Bangladesh and India. Its primary goal was to establish clear guidelines for India's release of water into the Ganges.

Compared to the earlier 1977 agreement, which initially lasted for five years, the new treaty maintained a similar structure but introduced a water-sharing formula replacing absolute flow figures. This formula determines water allocation from January 1 to May 31 annually.

Under the treaty, India guarantees the release of 35,000 cubic feet per second (cusecs) of water to Bangladesh and India, alternating three 10-day periods from March 11 to May 10 each year.

‘e-medical visa’

PM Modi stated that India will start an e-medical visa facility for people coming from Bangladesh to India for medical treatment. “We have taken the initiative to open a new Assistant High Commission in Rangpur for the convenience of the people of the North West region of Bangladesh. I wish both the teams all the best for the Cricket World Cup match this evening,” he noted, adding, “Bangladesh is India's largest development partner. We give utmost priority to our relations with Bangladesh.”

‘Neighbourhood First Policy’

PM Modi said that Bangladesh is at the confluence of our Neighbourhood First Policy, Act East Policy, Vision Sagar and Indo-Pacific Vision. “In the last one year, we have together completed many important projects of public welfare.”

He informed that trade in Indian Rupees has started between the two countries. “The world's longest river cruise on the Ganges River between India and Bangladesh has been successfully completed. The first cross-border friendship pipeline between India and Bangladesh has been completed,” he added.

Bangladesh is India's primary development partner, and approximately one-fourth of New Delhi's Line of Credit commitments are directed towards it.

Also Read: Bangladesh PM Sheikh Hasina’s state visit to India today. What’s on agenda?

In terms of trade, Bangladesh is India's largest trading partner in South Asia and its second-largest trading partner in Asia. Bangladesh exported around USD 2 billion worth of goods to India during the fiscal year 2022-23.

PM Modi further stated that the export of electricity from Nepal to Bangladesh through the Indian grid has become the first example of sub-regional cooperation in the energy sector. “Implementing such a big initiative in so many areas in just one year reflects the speed and scale of our relations,” he said.

In January 2024, India and Nepal signed an agreement to import up to 10,000 megawatts of electricity from Nepal over the next decade. This agreement includes provisions for India to facilitate electricity transmission from Nepal to Bangladesh through Indian transmission infrastructure. Additionally, to enhance energy collaboration and investment, both countries signed a project development agreement for NHPC Ltd to develop the 669 MW Lower Arun Hydroelectric project in Nepal.

Also Read: ‘Nepal remains a key neighbour for India’

Furthermore, Bangladesh PM Sheikh Hasina said “India is our major neighbour, trusted friend, and regional partner”.

Hasina added, “This is my first bilateral visit to any country after Bangladesh's 12th parliamentary elections and the formation of our new government in January 2024. Bangladesh greatly values our relations with India, which were born during our war of liberation in 1971... I pay homage to the brave, fallen heroes of India who sacrificed their lives during our war of liberation in 1971.”

Also Read: The liberation of Bangladesh and the arc of its history since then

She further added, “I invite Prime Minister Narendra Modi to visit Bangladesh to further strengthen the friendly relations of our two countries.”

The two nations share a substantial land boundary of 4,096.7 kilometers, which is the longest among India's neighbouring countries

The talks aimed to strengthen cooperation across various sectors such as trade and connectivity between the two nations.

Also Read: Bangladesh polls: What does re-election of Sheikh Hasina mean for India?

Robust cooperation exists between various agencies of both countries, particularly in areas such as law enforcement, anti-corruption efforts, and combating transnational crimes such as illicit drug trafficking, counterfeit currency operations, and human trafficking.

(With inputs from agencies)

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First Published:22 Jun 2024, 02:06 PM IST
HomeNewsworld‘Extensive discussion on boosting defence cooperation’ says PM Modi after meeting Bangladesh PM Sheikh Hasina

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