Modi, Hasina ink 10 pacts to boost bilateral, biz ties

To collaborate on various sectors like space, rail, maritime

New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Bangladesh counterpart Sheikh Hasina signed 10 agreements covering various domains from space cooperation to rail connectivity and maritime collaboration. Among the significant announcements, both nations agreed to start negotiations for a Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (free trade pact) and the renewal of the 1996 Ganga water sharing pact, with a technical team from India set to visit Bangladesh for discussions on the Teesta river waters. India also committed to open an assistant high commission in Rangpur to serve the north-western region of Bangladesh.

The bilateral talks underscored a commitment to bolster defence ties, including initiatives for modernising the Bangladesh armed forces and enhancing cooperation in counter-terrorism efforts. Additionally, India announced the introduction of e-medical visas for Bangladeshi citizens seeking medical treatment in India. Modi highlighted the development of a "Maitri" satellite and emphasised future collaborations in areas such as Green Partnership, Digital Partnership, Blue Economy, and Space.

Other important announcements included the commencement of export of 40 MW of power from Nepal to Bangladesh through the Indian power grid, construction of an Inland Container Depot (ICD) at Sirajganj in Bangladesh under Indian grant assistance, a new train service between Rajshahi and Kolkata, a new bus service between Chittagong and Kolkata, and commencement of goods train services between (border areas) Gede-Darsana and Haldibari-Chilahati upto Dalgaon. It was also decided to launch a Muktijoddha (freedom-fighter) Scheme for medical patients with an upper ceiling of Rs 8 lakh per patient, and also create 350 training slots in India for Bangladeshi police officers. India also decided to further enhance scholarships, training and capacity building for Bangladesh and its people. A Commercial agreement between the National Payments Corportaion of India (NPCI) and Bangladesh Bank for launch of UPI (Indian digital payment platform). Bangladesh also joined the Indo-Pacific Oceans Initiative.

Oceanography, disaster relief, fisheries, health and medicine, and strategic studies were also among the subjects of pacts inked at the conclusion of Ms. Hasina’s two-day State visit to New Delhi on Saturday.

Welcoming Sheikh Hasina and her delegation, PM Modi in his remarks said, “I am confident that together we will take the resolutions of 'Developed India 2047' and 'Smart Bangladesh 2041' to fruition. … In the last one year, we have met ten times. But today's meeting is special because Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is our first state guest in the third term of our government.”

On defence cooperation, he said, “We had extensive discussions on further strengthening defence cooperation, from defence production to modernisation of armed forces. We have decided to strengthen our engagement on counter-terrorism, de-radicalisation and peaceful management of borders. We share a common vision for the Indian Ocean region. We welcome Bangladesh's decision to join the Indo-Pacific Oceans Initiative. We will continue our cooperation in other regional and international forums, including BIMSTEC.”

In a joint statement, both leaders reaffirmed their commitment to expanding bilateral cooperation across various sectors and promoting regional stability and prosperity. Prime Minister Hasina invited Modi to visit Bangladesh, underscoring the enduring friendship and partnership between the two nations.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle )
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