Modi and Hasina sign pacts: from vaccines to trains, from technology to nuclear power

A day after Prime Minister Narendra Modi unveiled his roadmap for a shared future with Bangladesh, New Delhi and Dhaka on Saturday proposed a series of targeted and tangible measures to boost bilateral relations.

Foreign Minister Harsh Vardhan Shringla quoted Modi – he returned to New Delhi on Saturday evening – telling Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina that this visit had given “nayi urja, nayi gati (new energy, new rhythm) to the relationship.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Bangladesh Prime Minister Modi at the Bangabandhu Mausoleum complex on Saturday. (Source: Twitter / @ narendramodi)

From the development of a nuclear power station to border haats; more Covid vaccine shipments to a new rail service; from a start-up conclave that will bring together entrepreneurs from both countries to India’s participation in the very first airshow in Bangladesh in 2022, from cooperation in space to artificial intelligence – a multitude of results spanning several areas were listed in the joint statement issued after the bilateral Mod-Hasina.

According to Hasina spokesman Ihasanul Karim, the Prime Minister of Bangladesh raised the issue of sharing water from common rivers, including that of the Teesta River, when she said the decision to sign the treaty share of the Teesta water had been taken jointly nine years ago. and still had to be implemented.

Karim quoted Prime Minister Modi who replied, “We are committed to finding a reasonable solution to sharing water from all rivers.”

The joint statement acknowledged: “She (Hasina) stressed that in order to alleviate the suffering and save the livelihoods of millions of people dependent on the Teesta River Basin, it is necessary that Bangladesh receives its fair share of the waters of the river. Teesta, the draft agreement of which was already accepted by the two governments in January 2011. Prime Minister Narendra Modi reiterated India’s sincere commitment and continued efforts to conclude this agreement, in consultation with the parties. relevant stakeholders. “

New Delhi continued to emphasize health cooperation by offering 1.2 million doses of the Covid vaccine. Bangladesh is the largest foreign recipient of vaccines made in India – 10.2 million doses, including 3.2 million as gifts. Delhi has also provided 109 survival ambulances, some of which are specifically intended for Rohingya refugee camps in Cox’s Bazaar.

The two leaders stressed the importance of “effective border management to ensure a quiet, stable and crime-free border,” the joint statement said. And ordered the border forces to step up “people-centered measures to ensure border security and reduce the death toll of civilians to zero.”

The Bangladeshi side reiterated its demand for a 1.3 km Innocent Crossing – allowing passage of boats to the other side with restrictions – through the river route along the Padma River near the Rajshahi district. The Indian side has given assurances that it will consider the request. India has called for the completion of border fencing in all outstanding sectors as soon as possible, starting with the Tripura-Bangladesh sector. Dhaka assured Delhi that it would look into the matter.

Both sides reaffirmed their firm commitment to eradicate terrorism in all its forms and manifestations. Modi expressed India’s appreciation for Bangladesh’s extended cooperation in security-related issues, according to the joint statement.

Recalling that Bangladesh launched its first satellite, Bangabandhu Satellite (BS-1) in 2017, Hasina said the country will soon launch its second satellite. The two prime ministers agreed to continue collaboration and technology transfer in space and satellite research, the joint statement said.

Emerging cutting-edge fields such as “science, artificial intelligence, peaceful uses of nuclear technology, big data and technological services in health and education” have been identified as new areas for cooperation. . To facilitate youth exchanges between the two countries, Modi invited 50 young entrepreneurs from Bangladesh to visit India and present their ideas to venture capitalists.

Regarding the Rohingya refugees, “Hasina called on India, as a member of the United Nations Security Council, to play an important role in the rapid repatriation of the displaced Rohingya to Myanmar. India has assured its continued support in this regard, ”the joint statement read.

Modi expressed his gratitude for Bangladesh’s generosity in providing humanitarian assistance to the 1.1 million forcibly displaced people from Rakhine State in Myanmar.

The two sides stressed the rapid conclusion of the ongoing study on the prospects for concluding a Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA).

Modi, who later met Bangladesh President Abdul Hamid, said India will always support Bangladesh’s progress and development as a staunch friend.

Pacts have been signed in the areas of disaster management; trade remedies; provision of ICT equipment; training for a digital service; creation of sports facilities.

The two sides also inaugurated Mitali Express, a passenger train service on the Dhaka-New Jalpaiguri-Dhaka route via the Chilahati-Haldibari rail link and announced the historic route link between Mujibnagar and Nadia.

Earlier today, Modi spoke with members of the Matua community after offering prayers in their temple to Orakandi of Gopalganj; visited the mausoleum of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and the centuries-old temple of Jeshoreshwari Kali.

Secretary Shringla said, “These are not two countries where we just go to each other’s capitals and go back, or have lounge meetings and go back. These are countries with such a shared history and cultural heritage that we travel to different parts of the country. “