Strong, stable, prosperous Bangladesh a role model for South Asia: PM Modi
India is committed to continue its support to Bangladesh through cooperation in diverse areas, PM Narendra Modi said
India is committed to continue its support to Bangladesh, whether it was infrastructure development, capacity building or in the areas of heath or power generation, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said during talks with his Bangladeshi counterpart Sheikh Hasina in Dhaka on Saturday.
Congratulating PM Hasina on the upcoming graduation from Least Developing Country (LDC) status, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday affirmed that a strong, stable, and prosperous Bangladesh is a role model for the entire South Asian region.
"Had a productive meeting with PM Sheikh Hasina. We reviewed the full range of India-Bangladesh relations and discussed ways to deepen economic and cultural linkages in the times to come," PM Modi said on Twitter after the meeting.
The Indian Prime Minister added that India and Bangladesh signed MoUs in key sectors such as disaster management, sports and youth affairs, trade, technology and more. "These will add strength to our development partnership and benefit the people of our nations, especially the youth," he said.
Addressing the media in Dhaka during a special briefing, Indian Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla said the topics covered during the restricted, delegation-level talks included connectivity, cooperation in water resources and security, defence, power, and new areas like like intelligence, environment, and societal application of nuclear energy.
India's Lines of Credit are not limited to infrastructure development and connectivity but also cover green projects, and projects in new and emerging areas like hi-tech parks in 12 districts and solid waste management, FS Shringla pointed out.
"We are expanding our cooperation to other areas like civilian nuclear cooperation and are keen to work together in the area of space," he added.
Since the Prime Minister's last visit in 2015, the India and Bangladesh relationship has grown stronger and more multi-faceted, FS Shringla said. "Today, our ties transcend even a Strategic Partnership," he added.
Noting that the health sector has been very important between the two countries, particularly as they cooperate to combat Covid-19, FS Shringla said that during the talks, the two Prime Ministers expressed satisfaction at the policies and responses to contain the pandemic.
Referring to India's Vaccine Maitri initiative, Prime Minister Modi recalled his earlier assurance to Prime Minister Hasina that Bangladesh would continue to get high priority in this regard. PM Hasina thanked India for providing 1.02 crore (102 lakh) doses of the Covid-19 vaccine. Of this, 32 lakh doses have been provided as gifts under grant while 70 lakh are through commercial arrangements.
"Bangladesh is the largest recipient of Made-in-India vaccines," FS Shringla said, pointing out that this illustrated the priority India attaches to Bangladesh as its closest neighbour and was in consonance with the Neighbourhood First policy.
The Indian Foreign Secretary reiterated that this was Prime Minister Modi's first overseas visit since the outbreak of the Covid pandemic. "This is reflective of the highest importance we attach to Bangladesh in accordance with our Neighbourhood First and Act East policies," he noted.
The Prime Ministers took stock of progress in diverse areas and discussed how to preserve the "legacy and spirit of 1971".
December 6, the day on which India formally recognised Bangladesh, will be celebrated as 'Maitree Diwas'. It has also been decided to establish a Bangabandhu Chair in Delhi University.
According to the Foreign Secretary, Prime Minister Modi suggested that the two countries should organise a business exhibition called 'Best of India-Best of Bangladesh' during this year.
During the day, the Indian Prime Minister also met Bangladesh President Abdul Hamid and thanked him for his consistent support and guidance in the furtherance of India-Bangladesh ties. The two exchanged views on a wide range of subjects pertaining to cooperation between the two countries.