Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Wednesday said that her recent visit to India, after a gap of three years, has opened a new horizon in Bangladesh-India relations.
"Throughout the visit, we observed India's sincerity and commitment to continue cooperation between the two countries on the basis of equality and respect as good neighbours," she said at a press conference on her official visit to India last week at her official residence Ganobhaban.
The premier said the people of both countries will be benefited if the decisions taken during her visit (Sept 5-8) to solve the existing bilateral problems and the areas of cooperation identified during the bilateral talks are implemented.
"After all, in the changed world situation, this visit would accelerate both the countries to move forward together in a new way. I firmly believe that this cooperation will continue for the welfare of the people of both countries. South Asia, including Bangladesh and India, will become a prosperous region soon," she said in her written speech.
Hasina said both Dhaka and New Delhi highlighted sincerity and pledges to continue cooperation between them on the basis of equality and respect as good neighbours.
She said the issues of Teesta water sharing, cessation of border killings, trade expansion, withdrawal of anti-dumping duty on Bangladesh jute products, repatriation of the Rohingyas, import of electricity from Nepal and Bhutan via India, were discussed.
The PM highlighted the significant achievements of her visit. These are: MoU on sharing water of Kushiara River allowing Bangladesh to withdraw 153 cusec of water from the river, consensus to bring down the border killing to zero, India agreeing to lift restrictions on rail communication and other cross-border rail links with Bhutan and take steps for giving advance messages to Bangladesh before stopping the export of essential food items like sugar, onion, ginger and garlic.
She also mentioned about the planned opening of historic "Swadhinata Road" from Mujibnagar in Bangladesh to the Bangladesh-India border.
In case of river pollution and common rivers, immediate steps will be taken to improve the environment and navigability of the rivers, IT solutions will be exchanged to enhance the quality of railway services, and the commerce officials of the two countries has been instructed to begin work for signing the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement by 2022.
During the visit, the two sides signed seven Memorandum of Understandings (MoUs) including withdrawal of 153 cusec of water from Kushiara river to Bangladesh under Surma-Kushiara project, Scientific and Technological Cooperation between Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), she said, adding that MoUs were also signed between India and Bangladesh Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (BCSIR), MoU between the National Judicial Academy in Bhopal, India and the Supreme Court of Bangladesh, MoU between the Ministry of Railways (Railway Board), Government of India and the Ministry of Railways, Government of Bangladesh on Training of Bangladesh Railway Personnel in India, MoU between the Ministry of Railways (Railway Board), Government of India and the Ministry of Railways, Government of Bangladesh on Collaboration in IT systems such as FOIS and other IT Applications for Bangladesh Railway, between the Indian state-run television 'Prasar Bharti' and Bangladesh Television (BTV) on Cooperation in Broadcasting and MoU on Cooperation in the Areas of Space Technology between BTCL and NSIL.
Sheikh Hasina said as per the MoU, Bangladesh will receive 153 cusecs of water under the Surma-Kushiara project from the common river Kushiara and as a result, 5,000 hectares of land will get irrigation facilities through Rahimpur Link Canal.
Apart from this, the premier said, an agreement has been made on cooperation in the fields of environment, climate change, cyber security, space technology, green economy, cultural and people-to-people communication, she added.
"We agreed to complete the construction work of the second gate proposed by India at the Petrapole- Benapole border as soon as possible to expand trade. A delegation from Bangladesh will soon visit India to participate in the start-up fair," she added.
Focusing on the energy cooperation between India and Bangladesh, the PM said fuel (diesel) from Numaligarh Refinery Limited in Assam will flow to Parbatipur in Dinajpur district of Bangladesh through India's Siliguri through a pipeline. A MoU was signed between Bangladesh and India on April 9, 2018 under the "India-Bangladesh Friendship Pipeline Construction Project", she added.
"Under this project, a total of 131.57 km (126.57 km in the Bangladesh part and 5 km in the Indian part) pipeline is being constructed with the finance of the Government of India. Out of the 126.50 km of pipelines in the Bangladesh part, 125 km pipeline has been completed," she said, adding that due to construction of the pipeline, fuel transportation cost will be saved and diesel could be imported from India easily, quickly and in adverse conditions to meet the needs of northern parts of the country;
She said now, 60,000-80,000 metric tonnes of diesel are imported from India annually through Railway Wagon and once the construction of the pipeline is completed, it will be possible to import about 10 lakh metric tonnes of diesel from India annually.
Currently, the storage capacity in Parbatipur is 15,000 metric tonnes and under the ongoing project, the storage capacity will increase by 28,800 metric tonnes, she said, adding that on August 28, 2022 India's state-owned company has been enlisted as a supplier of fuel oil on G-to-G basis with an aim to diversify the import source of fuel.
About LNG import, the premier said considering the huge gas demand in the south-western part of the country, particularly in Khulna area, the government is considering importing Regasified LNG (RLNG) from India to Bangladesh through a cross-border pipeline and to this end, against the proposals of Indian Oil Corporation Ltd (IOCL) and H-Energy, Patrobangla signed respective Non-binding MoU with both the agencies.
"India is our closest neighbour and friendly country. Our relationship with India is historic. Our relations have been deepened due to similarities of language and culture," she said.
Besides, the support during the 1971 Liberation War and cooperation after the independence have taken this friendship to a special level, said the prime minister.
Leave a Comment
In its most urgent and scathing statement yet on the situation in Bang ...
Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen on Monday said both Bangladesh and the ...