India, B’desh hail bilateral ties, sign 7 pacts

New Delhi: In a joint statement issued on Saturday, India and Bangladesh hailed the bilateral ties between the two countries, as they signed seven agreements including the setting up of a joint coastal surveillance system.

Prime Ministers Narendra Modi and Sheikh Hasina, while insisting on broad-based bilateral ties, emphasised on the initiatives for the development of closer maritime security partnership, and noted the progress made in the finalisation of an MoU for the establishment of a coastal surveillance radar system in Bangladesh, the joint statement said.

The seven MoUs signed between the two nations will deepen cooperation in the following areas — water resources, youth affairs, culture, education and coastal surveillance.

Both sides agreed to expedite the commissioning of a joint study on the prospects of entering a bilateral Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA).

Modi also appreciated the zero-tolerance policy of Bangladesh against terrorism and commended Sheikh Hasina for her resolute efforts to ensure peace, security and stability in the region.

“Recognising that terrorism remains one of the most significant threats to peace and stability of both the countries and the region, the two Prime Ministers reiterated their strong commitment to eliminate terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, and stressed that there can be no justification whatsoever for any act of terror,” the joint statement said.

The two leaders also recognised the need for increased cooperation in defence for a more integrated and secure neighbourhood, taking into account the joint operation carried out by both forces during the Bangladesh Liberation War of December 1971.

Modi and Sheikh Hasina also agreed to expedite work towards drawing upon a $500 million Defence Line of Credit extended by India to Bangladesh. The implementation arrangements for this were finalised in April 2019.

Through a video link, the leaders inaugurated the Bangladesh-India Professional Skill Development Institute (BIPSDI) at the Institution of Diploma Engineers Bangladesh (IDEB) in Khulna.

The leaders also signed an MoU on withdrawal of 1.82 cusec of water from the Feni river by India for the drinking water supply scheme for Sabroom town in Tripura.

They also agreed that the loss of civilian lives at the border is a matter of concern and directed the concerned border forces to enhance coordinated measures to work towards bringing such border incidents down to zero.