India and Bangladesh Forge New Collaborations
Critical issues related to water resources, power, and energy, were the focus of talks when Prime Minister Narendra Modi met with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina of Bangladesh. The meeting which took place on the eve of the G20 Summit in New Delhi, highlighted the comprehensive nature of their engagement.
Key areas of focus included political and security cooperation, border management, trade, and connectivity. Moreover, development cooperation and strengthening cultural and people-to-people ties were underscored during the meeting.
A significant achievement celebrated during the meeting was the operationalization of the Agreement on the use of the Chattogram and Mongla Ports. Additionally, the commissioning of the India-Bangladesh Friendship Pipeline marked a moment of mutual appreciation. Both leaders expressed their support for the settlement of bilateral trade in INR and encouraged businesses on both sides to utilize this mechanism.
Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement
Looking ahead, the leaders expressed eagerness to initiate negotiations on the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA). This agreement would encompass trade in goods, services, and the protection and promotion of investment, further solidifying economic ties.
The meeting also highlighted the successful implementation of various development cooperation projects. Among these projects, the Agartala-Akhaura Rail Link, Unit-II of the Maitri Power Plant, and the Khulna-Mongla Rail Link stood out. The joint inauguration of these projects, scheduled for a later date, will be a testament to the strong partnership between the two nations.
To strengthen bilateral cooperation, several Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs) were exchanged during the meeting. These included agreements on cooperation in digital payment mechanisms between the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) and Bangladesh Bank, the renewal of the Cultural Exchange Program (CEP) for 2023-2025, and collaboration between the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) and Bangladesh Agriculture Research Council (BARC).
Addressing the regional situation, Prime Minister Modi commended Bangladesh for hosting over a million refugees displaced from Rakhine State in Myanmar. India reaffirmed its commitment to supporting safe and sustainable repatriation of these refugees.
Furthermore, India welcomed Bangladesh’s Indo-Pacific outlook, underscoring the importance of regional cooperation. Both leaders agreed to continue working together to strengthen their multifaceted engagement.
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