Economic growth, peace figure high
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and her Indian counterpart Narendra Modi have agreed to work hand in glove to sustain economic growth and maintain peace, security and stability in the two countries and also in the region.
Terming India the most important and closest neighbour of Bangladesh, Hasina said bilateral relations between the two nations are known to be a role model for neighbourhood diplomacy.
"If Bangladesh and India can work together as partners, it will not only benefit the two countries but also bring peace and prosperity in the region as a whole," she said in a statement issued after bilateral talks with Modi at the Hyderabad House in New Delhi.
After the talks, the two premiers witnessed the exchange of seven MoUs (memorandum of understanding) signed between the relevant authorities of the two countries. Those include an MoU on Kushiyara River.
Hasina said all the issues such as the water sharing of 54 common rivers, including the Teesta, will be resolved.
"The two countries resolved many outstanding issues in the spirit of friendship and cooperation, and we expressed hope for settling all outstanding issues, including the signing of the Teesta Water Sharing Treaty, at the earliest.
"…As long as Narendra Modi is here, Bangladesh and India will resolve all their problems," she noted.
Terming her talks with Modi "another round of fruitful discussion", Hasina said its "outcome will bring benefits to the peoples of both our countries."
Following the nearly 90-minute of talks in two formats -- one-to-one meeting and delegation-level discussions -- the two premiers virtually inaugurated the 1,320MW Maitri super critical coal-fired thermal power plant in Khulna's Rampal, and four key connectivity projects, including a rail bridge over the Rupsha, and Khulna-Darshana and Parbatipur-Kaunia rail links.
Maitri power plant has two units -- each with power generation capacity of 600MW.
Modi said that rising energy prices are posing a challenge to all developing countries, and talks between Dhaka and New Delhi are going on over connecting power transmission lines.
"The two countries resolved many outstanding issues in the spirit of friendship and cooperation... we expressed hope for settling all outstanding issues, including the signing of the Teesta Water Sharing Treaty, at the earliest."
"The unveiling of the first unit of Maitree Thermal Power Plant today will increase the availability of affordable electricity in Bangladesh," he said after "extensive discussions" with Hasina on bilateral, regional and international issues.
The Indian PM said his country is the largest market in Asia for Bangladesh's exports, and that they will soon start discussions on the bilateral Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) to "accelerate" this growth further.
"Our bilateral trade is growing rapidly," he noted.
Modi said the two economies will be able to work with each other more closely, and support each other with the expansion of connectivity between the two countries and the development of trade infrastructure in border areas.
Modi said India will continue to walk step by step with Bangladesh to help it achieve the desired progress, stability and prosperity.
"Our conversation today was also an excellent opportunity to reiterate this core commitment."
He further said they both need to make the two economies stronger by taking lessons from the Covid pandemic and recent global developments.
Earlier, Modi formally welcomed Hasina at the Rashtrapati Bhavan forecourt where she was accorded a tri-services guard of honour.
Hasina presented to Modi a book on the historic March 7 speech of the Father of the Nation, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, which has been translated in different languages.
She also offered floral tributes at the Mahatma Gandhi memorial at Rajghat.
Meanwhile, State Minister for Foreign Affairs Shahriar Alam said the Bangladesh premier told Modi that repatriation is the only solution to the Rohingya issue and asked for help to that end.
He was briefing journalists at Bangladesh High Commission in New Delhi about the PM's India visit.
Shahriar further said Bangladesh is keen to buy diesel, gas and power from India and enhance energy cooperation.
Foreign Secretary Masud Bin Momen, PM's Press Secretary Ihsanul Karim, and Bangladesh High Commissioner to India Muhammad Imran, among others, were present.
Briefing the media at the external affairs ministry, Indian Foreign Secretary Vinay Kwatra said Hasina sought assurances from India on the supply of perishable commodities and also about the pipeline that will supply high-speed diesel to northern Bangladesh.
Mentioning that terrorism and radicalisation pose security threat to both India and Bangladesh, he said the two leaders held comprehensive talks on how to improve cooperation on the issue.
"The discussions between the two leaders have been comprehensive. In this context, there is a clear common understanding that the strategic priorities of the relationship of the two countries, interests and concerns of India, and interests and priorities of Bangladesh are all factored in our cooperative matrix of engagement," the Indian foreign secretary said.
"Our relationship stands on its own merits, focuses on its own priorities and looks at our shared concerns, whether they are related to safety issues or security issues," he said.