Bangladesh, India for strengthening cooperation in water management, cyber, food security
Bangladesh and India yesterday (June 19, 2022) agreed to work closely together to further strengthen cooperation in the areas of common rivers and water resources management and pledged to expand collaboration in cyber security, IT and food security.
The decision was taken at the seventh meeting of the Joint Commission co-chaired by Bangladesh Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen and his Indian counterpart S Jaishankar at the Hyderabad House, reports our New Delhi correspondent.
A joint statement said the two countries reiterated the importance of safe, speedy and sustainable return of "the forcibly displaced persons (Rohingya refugees) from the Rakhine state to Myanmar, currently being sheltered by Bangladesh."
In his opening remarks at the JCC meeting, Momen said in view of the growing mutual dependency of the economies of Bangladesh and India, the two countries need collective efforts for early recovery from economic devastations caused by the Covid-19 pandemic and supply chain disruptions due to the ongoing conflicts in Ukraine.
Bangladesh, he said, has made a strong recovery from the pandemic but the volatility of markets following the Ukraine conflict is a cause for concern.
"We need collective collaborative efforts to sustain our economic growth and maintain peace, security and stability in the region," said Momen.
The Bangladesh foreign minister said, "Our shared history, geography, culture and values and shared commitment to peace, security and development have given us unique confidence to forge partnership not only on the bilateral front but on a wide range of issues in various regional and multilateral forums."
"We have attained tangible results in many areas, such as, settling land and maritime boundary demarcation, security, connectivity, development cooperation, cultural exchange, power and energy, trade and commerce, blue economy, defence, and so on," he added.
The ministers expressed satisfaction that despite challenges posed by Covid-19 pandemic, the two countries have worked closer than ever before in every sector, from security and border management to mutually beneficial trade and investment flows, enhanced bilateral and sub-regional multimodal connectivity, greater power and energy cooperation, developmental assistance and capacity building exchanges, cultural and closer people-to-people ties.
In his opening remarks, Jaishankar said India looked forward to working with Bangladesh to take bilateral ties to new domains – Artificial Intelligence, cyber security, startups and Fintech.
He said the two countries also need to work together comprehensive management and conservation of 54 common rivers as well as the shared environmental responsibility that we have, especially the Sundarbans.
The Indian minister said the better management of the India-Bangladesh long border is also a key priority and "our border guarding forces are committed to combating trans-border crimes. We must continue to work together to make sure that the border remains crime-free."
Jaishankar said India looks at subregional cooperation in power, especially hydropower.
India, he pointed out, is both the largest producer and consumer of energy in the region and would be very happy to work with Bangladesh to structure a progressive partnership in the areas of production, transmission and trade of electricity, he added.
Jaishankar said, "Our ties today reflect the visionary leadership of Prime Minister Modi and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. We are truly at a shonali adhyaya."
This was the first in-person JCC meeting convened since the onset of Covid-19 pandemic with the previous edition held virtually in 2020.
It was agreed that the next round of India-Bangladesh JCC will be held in Bangladesh in 2023.