West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee yesterday showed interest in importing bicycles from Bangladesh.
“There is a huge demand for bicycles in West Bengal. So, Bangladesh can utilise this opportunity by exporting bicycles to West Bengal,” she said at a meeting with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in Kolkata in the evening.
Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen briefed reporters about the outcome of the meeting, reports UNB.
The two leaders discussed a range of bilateral issues at the meeting held at Hasina’s suite at Taj Bengal hotel.
The premier was on a day’s visit to Kolkata to inaugurate India’s maiden day-night Test match against Bangladesh at the Eden Gardens stadium.
Emerging from the over an hour-long meeting, Hasina told journalists that she wanted friendly and cordial relations between the two countries to flourish and continue, reports our correspondent from New Delhi.
“We would always remain grateful for the role played by India during our Liberation War. We will never forget it.
“India gave shelter to more than one crore refugees from Bangladesh,” the premier said.
Chief Minister Mamata said they had a very cordial meeting in which they discussed a lot of bilateral issues.
“Hope the relationship between the two countries will flourish further in the days to come,” she said without specifying any issue discussed.
This was the first meeting between Hasina and Mamata in more than a year since they had met in Kolkata in April last year when the former had paid an official visit to India and went to Shantiniketon.
Mamata’s role was criticised by analysts for her refusal to sign the Teesta water-sharing agreement between India and Bangladesh during former Indian PM Manmohan Singh’s visit to Bangladesh in 2011.
The Indian government has since then repeatedly assured Bangladesh that New Delhi was committed to the Teesta deal, but was trying to bring the West Bengal chief minister on board as water was a state subject.
TWO PROPOSALS PLACED
At the meeting yesterday, Mamata placed two proposals. She said Bangladeshi entrepreneurs could set up joint venture bicycle industries in West Bengal and her government would allocate land for them.
Secondly, Bangladeshi investors could establish such industries in the country’s bordering areas. This would reduce transportation cost to a great extent, she said.
Foreign Minister Momen said the West Bengal chief minister put emphasis on cooperation between Bangladesh and West Bengal in the fields of education, healthcare and industries.
Foreign Minister Momen, Liberation War Affairs Minister AKM Mozammel Haque, and State Minister for Foreign Affairs Md Shahriar Alam, among others, were present.