Delhi, Dhaka signal river pact, first in 25 years; Hasina praises Modi

Visiting Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina mentioned Tuesday that “as long as Prime Minister (Narendra) Modi is here, Bangladesh and India will resolve” issues between them.

She mentioned this within the context of sharing river waters as the 2 international locations signed an interim water sharing settlement for the Kushiyara river, the primary such pact between them in over 25 years — the Ganga water treaty was signed in 1996.

The two sides additionally determined to start out negotiations on a complete commerce pact and strengthen cooperation towards terrorism and radicalism.

Speaking after her bilateral assembly with Prime Minister Modi in New Delhi, Hasina mentioned: “Both countries have achieved remarkable progress in a number of areas. I recall that the two countries have resolved many outstanding issues in the spirit of friendship and cooperation, and hope that all outstanding issues including the Teesta water-sharing treaty will be concluded at an early date.”

“Today, I thank Mr Modi that we resolved the issue of Kushiyara (river)… so I know as long as Prime Minister Modi is here, Bangladesh and India will resolve all these problems,” she mentioned, Modi by her facet.

She met President Droupadi Murmu and Vice President Jagdeep Dhankhar.

PM Narendra Modi with Bangladesh PM Sheikh Hasina at Hyderabad House in New Delhi on Tuesday. (EXpress photograph by Praveen Khanna)

Earlier within the day, Hasina mentioned that friendship can remedy any downside.

Modi mentioned the Kushiyara pact will profit individuals in southern Assam and Sylhet in Bangladesh. He additionally mentioned that the 2 international locations will share the info on floods.

The two sides, Modi mentioned, will begin discussions on a commerce settlement, underlining that the Covid-19 pandemic and the current geopolitical challenges make it important to strengthen bilateral financial ties.

“With the expansion of connectivity between our two countries, and the development of trade infrastructure on the border, the two economies will be able to connect more with each other, support each other. Our bilateral trade is growing rapidly. Today, India is the largest market in Asia for Bangladesh’s exports. To further accelerate this growth, we will soon start discussions on the Bilateral Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement,” he mentioned.

Bangladesh PM Sheikh Hasina in New Delhi. (Express Photo by Praveen Khanna)

Besides the settlement on the Kushiyara water-sharing, the 2 sides signed pacts on railways, area, IT and media.

The spirit of the 1971 conflict was additionally invoked by the 2 leaders of their statements.

Modi mentioned, “Today, we also stressed on cooperation against terrorism and radicalism. To keep the spirit of 1971 alive, it is also very important that we together fight such forces, which want to attack our mutual trust.”

Hasina mentioned, “We are grateful for the invaluable support extended by the Government and the people of India in the great War of Liberation of Bangladesh in 1971 which was a watershed moment in our bilateral relations. Since then, Bangladesh-India ties are anchored in shared history and culture, mutual trust and respect, long standing friendship and continued cooperation. I appreciate Modiji’s visionary leadership that continues to provide added momentum to our bilateral relations.”

She mentioned, “I reiterate that India is the most important and closest neighbour for Bangladesh. Bangladesh-India bilateral relations are known to be Role Model for Neighborhood diplomacy.”

Hasina additionally introduced the Mujib Scholarship on Tuesday for the direct descendants of the Indian troopers killed or grievously injured within the 1971 Bangladesh Liberation War. The awards will likely be conferred on Wednesday, she mentioned.

The award is called after Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, Hasina’s father.

“Tomorrow, I will confer the Mujib Scholarship to the direct descendants of the soldiers or officers of the defence forces of India who were martyred or gravely wounded during the Bangladesh Liberation War,” Hasina mentioned.

As many as 1,984 Indian Army personnel have been killed within the conflict, in line with the Bangladeshi authorities.

Earlier, Modi welcomed Hasina on the Rashtrapati Bhavan forecourt in New Delhi, the place she was accorded a tri-services guard of honour.

Interacting with reporters at Rashtrapati Bhavan, Hasina mentioned her talks with Modi would deal with bettering the situation of the individuals of their respective international locations, poverty alleviation and financial improvement.

“Our main aim is to develop the economy and fulfil the basic needs of our people. With friendship you can solve any problem. So we always do that,” she mentioned.

Hasina additionally supplied floral tributes at Mahatma Gandhi’s memorial in Rajghat. Congress chief Rahul Gandhi known as on her and later mentioned, “India and Bangladesh are natural allies and it’s crucial that both our countries work towards strengthening this bond.”

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