Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheik Hasina held a discussion on the whole range of bilateral ties at a virtual summit on December 17, 2020. Both the leaders had an inclusive discussion on all facets of the bilateral relations and exchange perspectives on regional and global issues.

Both the Prime Ministers expressed contentment on their current bilateral relation and underscored that relations between Bangladesh and India are based on intimate ties and insightful of a comprehensive partnership which is dependent on equality, sovereignty, trust, and understanding that goes beyond their strategic partnership.

The two sides shared opinions on the current COVID-19 pandemic circumstance in their respective nations and emphasized that India’s most elevated need joins Bangladesh under India’s Neighbourhood First Policy. Prime Minister Narendra Modi guaranteed that the vaccine would be made accessible to Bangladesh as and when made in India. They additionally noticed the enduring bilateral association among the private sector regarding the same. India also offered coordinated effort in therapeutics and affiliation in vaccine production.

The year 2021 will be significant in India Bangladesh bilateral relations. They would celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Liberation War and the foundation of strategic ties between India and Bangladesh. It was consented to mutually organized various activities to honour these two epochal occasions in India, Bangladesh, and third nations. Both the countries consented to hold an early meet of the Joint Boundary Conference to prepare a ‘new set of strip maps along the stretch of Icchamati, Kalindi, Raimongol and the Hariabhanga Rivers from Main Pillar 1 to Land Boundary terminus,’ with the end goal of concluding the demarcation of the boundaries as fixed. It was also consented to complete needed work to convert the ‘International Boundary along Kuhsiyara River into a fixed boundary.’ Bangladesh again requested for 1.3 km Innocent Passage through river course along with River Padma near Rajshahi District. India ensured to mull over the request.

The two leaders consented to complete border fencing at all pending areas at the international border between the nations from the Tripura (India)- Bangladesh area. Both the Prime Ministers laid stress on the complete execution of the current Coordinated Border Management Plan. They valued the two boarding guarding forces’ endeavours against smuggling arms, narcotics, and fake currency and forestall trafficking, especially of women and children. They also pledged to take strict action in eliminating terrorism and all its form. They further directed both sides’ authorities for a speedy conclusion of the MoU in the region of disaster management cooperation.

Both the Prime Ministers underscored on tackling issues of ‘non-tariff barriers and trade facilitation’ including port limitations, procedural bottlenecks, and quarantine limitations so the two nations can be benefited from SAFTA adaptability.

India and Bangladesh mutually initiated the recently reestablished railway link between Haldibari (India) and Chilahati (Bangladesh). They noticed that this rail connection would additionally fortify exchange and individuals to individual’s ties between both the countries. It was resolute to operationalize the train as and when the COVID circumstance gets better. Both the countries welcomed the new inventiveness, including the signing of the ‘second addendum to the Protocol on Inland Water Transit and Trade (PIWTT), the preliminary attempt of trans-shipment of Indian goods from Kolkata to Agartala through Chattogram, and operationalization of the Sonamura-Daudkandi Protocol course under the PIWTT. Both the pioneers consented to speedily operationalize trans-shipment of Indian goods through Chattogram and Mongla Ports.’

Bangladesh Prime Minister showed much interest in the India Myanmar Thailand trilateral highway project and looked for assistance from India to empower Bangladesh to join the venture to upgrade connectivity between South and Southeast Asia. Similarly, Indian requested Bangladesh to permit West Bengal (Hilli) connectivity to Meghalaya (Mahendraganj) through Bangladesh. On the one hand, India also requested the Government of Bangladesh have at least one Land Port with a minimal negative list between India and Bangladesh’s neighbouring states, starting with Agartala-Akhaura. On the other hand, Bangladesh proposed that Bangladeshi trucks profit of the Feni Bridge, when finished, for transportation of goods from Chattogram port toward the North East of India.’

Both emphasized the dynamic operationalization of the ‘newly constituted High-Level Monitoring Committee headed by Secretary, Economic Relations Division from Bangladesh and the High Commissioner of India in Dhaka to routinely evaluate the advancement of the LOC Projects their early completion.’ The two nations further consented to keep cooperating towards accomplishing early reforms of the UN Security Council, fighting climate change, achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and assurance of the rights of migrants. Both Prime Ministers reaffirmed the requirement for developed nations to accomplish their obligation under the Global Partnership for ensuring the ways of execution of the SDGs as mentioned in the Agenda 2030.

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