Spotlight on connectivity in Modi-Hasina talks

Nayanima Basu New Delhi | Updated on January 15, 2018 Published on April 08, 2017

Prime Minister Narendra Modi with his Bangladeshi counterpart Sheikh Hasina at Hyderabad House in New Delhi on Saturday. -- Kamal Narang

India announces $500-mn credit line for Bangladesh's defence purchases

Enhanced connectivity and greater people-to-people contact took centre stage during the bilateral talks between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Bangladeshi counterpart Sheikh Hasina.

“Connectivity is crucial for the success of bilateral development partnerships, sub-regional economic projects and for the larger regional economic prosperity,” Modi said after the meeting here on Saturday.

This is Hasina’s first visit to India in the last seven years. Her visit follows Prime Minister Modi’s visit to Bangladesh in June 2015.

Modi also urged the early implementation of the B.B.I.N. (Bangladesh-Bhutan-India-Nepal) Motor Vehicles Agreement, which is part of the SAARC masterplan on regional connectivity. BBIN is aimed at facilitating seamless transport of goods over land customs stations in South Asian countries.

Following the bilateral meeting between both leaders, both sides jointly inaugurated bus and train links between Kolkata and Khulna. There are plans to optimise inland waterways and operationalise a coastal shipping agreement.

Both sides signed 22 agreements, which include an MoU on defence cooperation, peaceful uses of outer space, peaceful uses of nuclear energy, bilateral judicial sector cooperation and cyber security, among others.

India has also announced a $500-million line of credit to Bangladesh aimed at its defence procurements.

“We agreed that peace, security and development for our people and for the region will remain central to our engagement. Today, we have also taken a long overdue step by signing an agreement on close cooperation between our armed forces. I am also happy to announce a $500-million Line of Credit to support Bangladesh’s defence related procurement. In implementing this line of credit, we will be guided by Bangladesh’s needs and priorities,” Modi added.

Teesta River water sharing issue

However, there was no progress on the issue of sharing of water of some of the common rivers that flow between both the countries. Bangladesh has been demanding water sharing from the River Teesta for over two decades now.

“We discussed the issue of sharing of waters of the common rivers, including Teesta. I sincerely believe we shall be able to get India’s support in resolving these issues expeditiously,” said Hasina while addressing reporters.

Hasina said Bangladesh has also raised the issue of India imposing anti-dumping duties on its jute exports to India.

The Bangladeshi PM, who is accompanied by a high-powered business delegation, will also be addressing leaders of Indian industry in order to explore investment opportunities in India as well as seeking the participation of Indian firms in the economic development of Bangladesh.

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Published on April 08, 2017
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