Outgoing Indian High Commissioner to Bangladesh Vikram Kumar Doraiswami has described Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's recent India visit as "extremely successful" with "very strong deliverables" on all areas of important cooperation from trade, connectivity to water sharing.
"So our goal essentially was to ensure that the relationship goes forward with more trade, more cooperation," he said during an interaction at Old India House on September 14.
Doraiswami particularly highlighted few of the deliverables, one being the MoU on water sharing of the Kushiyara River, the first water sharing agreement that the two countries had since the Ganges water sharing treaty in 1996.
The second thing is the announcement by the two leaders of a decision to start negotiations for a Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA).
"Third, I think the sense of focus on transport and connectivity was very strong. A very good package was negotiated and finalized in terms of railway connectivity in particular," Doraiswami said.
During the visit, the Indian side requested the Bangladesh side for cooperation for initiating new sub-regional connectivity projects including a highway from Hili in West Bengal to Mahendraganj in Meghalaya through Bangladesh and in this regard, proposed preparation of a detailed project report.
Responding to a question, the High Commissioner said the idea is sub regional connectivity and the numbers of road options are very limited.
"Alternatives options have to be explored and we are now suggesting and looking at options..."
In the same spirit, Bangladesh reiterated its eagerness to partner in the ongoing initiative of the India-Myanmar-Thailand trilateral highway project.
The envoy said they intended to invite Bangladesh to be one of the guests at the G20 Summit, which India will host next September.
"And of course that has now been announced. So as you will understand, it is not just an invitation for the Summit level process. It is an invitation for the totality of the G20 meetings during India's chairmanship," Doraiswami said, terming it a very big deal.
Essentially all the guest countries including Bangladesh will have an opportunity to be part of the larger process of negotiating outcomes for the totality of G20.
India, as G20 Presidency, will be inviting Bangladesh, Egypt, Mauritius, Netherlands, Nigeria, Oman, Singapore, Spain and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) as guest countries to its meetings and Summit.
India will assume the Presidency of the G20 for one year from December 1, 2022 to November 30, 2023.
Under its Presidency, India is expected to host over 200 G20 meetings across the country, beginning December 2022.
PM Sheikh Hasina paid a state visit to India from September 5-8 at the invitation of Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi.
During the visit, Prime Minister Hasina called on President of India Droupadi Murmu and Vice President of India Jagdeep Dhankhar.
External Affairs Minister Dr. S. Jaishankar and Minister of Development of North Eastern Region G. Kishan Reddy called on her.
Prime Minister Hasina's programme also included launching of "Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman Student Scholarship" for 200 descendants of Indian Armed Forces personnel martyred and critically injured during the Liberation War of Bangladesh in 1971.
She also addressed a business event, jointly organized by Indian and Bangladesh business communities on September 7.
Both Prime Ministers held a restricted meeting and tête-à-tête followed by delegation level talks on September 6.
The two leaders expressed satisfaction at the excellent state of bilateral relations, based on deep historical and fraternal ties and shared values of democracy and pluralism, which is reflected in an all-encompassing bilateral partnership, based on sovereignty, equality, trust and understanding that transcends even a strategic partnership.
They recalled Prime Minister Narendra Modi's state visit in March 2021 to join the celebrations of the Golden Jubilee of the Independence of Bangladesh, the birth centenary of the Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and 50 years of establishment of diplomatic relations between Bangladesh and India, which was followed by the state visit of the President of India in December 2021, to attend the celebrations of the Golden Jubilee of the Victory Day of Bangladesh, as the guest of honour.
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