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PM: It’s the golden era of India-Bangladesh relations

Abhishek Law Santiniketan | Updated on May 25, 2018 Published on May 25, 2018

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Prime Minister of Bangladesh, Sheikh Hasina jointly inaugurated the Bangladesh Bhavan, at Santi Niketan, in West Bengal on May 25, 2018.   -  PIB

The Prime Ministers of both India and Bangladesh on Friday expressed strong commitment to keep the current tempo of co-operation ahead.

Addressing the inaugural ceremony of the Dhaka-sponsored “Bangladesh Bhavan” at Visva-Bharati university campus in Santiniketan (160 km from Kolkata), Prime Minister Narendra Modi described the current phase of bi-lateral relations as “the golden chapter”.

Though he didn’t take any direct reference to the unresolved Teesta water-sharing issue; the Prime Minister pointed out that many issues, which at one point looked impossible to resolve, now stands achieved. He stressed that the remaining issues would be achieved “soon”.

Modi stressed on improving the connectivity which has been snapped for decades. “We have already started the Kolkata-Khulna AC Bandhan express. And we are working on issues like coastal shipping,” he added.

LBA - a high point

Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina remembered the successful implementation of the Land Boundary Agreement in 2015 as a high point in India-Bangladesh relations.

India and Bangladesh entered a pact in this regard in 1974. The Parliament of Bangladesh on created necessary provisions too. But, subsequent political complications between the two nations delayed its implementation. A protocol was signed in 2011 but it didn’t get the support either at the Parliament or in the State.

“It was pending for so long that we lost hope for it. I congratulate the entire political class in India for finally making it happen,” Hasina said. She reminded that settling border disputes were never easy and bloodshed is not uncommon.

Teesta water sharing

Hasina too didn’t mention about Teesta water-sharing. But she reminded that there were “unresolved issues” which she would not like to refer on this occasion. A pact in this regard couldn’t be entered at the opposition of West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, who was also present on the occasion.

The Bangladeshi Prime Minister will meet Banerjee on Saturday. The agenda for the discussion is not known. Hasina also urged India to build pressure on Myanmar to take back the Rohingya refugees.

“Almost 11 lakh Rohingyas are living in Bangladesh. We have given them shelter as we could not drive them out on humanitarian grounds. But I also seek support for building pressure on Myanmar for taking back their citizens,” she said.

According to Mohammed Shahriar Alam, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Republic of Bangladesh, the two nations are ‘on the same page’ with regard to Rohingya refugees; while a ‘track two dialogue’ has already been initiated on the Teesta issue.

Published on May 25, 2018
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