When Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina arrived at the Jaipur International Airport yesterday, a cultural troupe from Rajasthan greeted her with a dance performance. At this time he encouraged them by waving his hand. Photo: PID
India has proposed to build a highway through Bangladesh to connect Mahendraganj in the Indian state of Meghalaya and Hilli in West Bengal. India made the proposal under the sub-regional cooperation initiative during Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s recently concluded visit to India. In this context, Bangladesh has offered to participate in the trilateral highway between India-Myanmar-Thailand.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina returned to Dhaka yesterday after completing a four-day state visit to India.
The Indian side has released detailed information about the decisions taken by the two countries during this visit. That is where this proposal comes in. In Khatwari information, India said that during the historic visit of Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, several important decisions were taken by mutual consent between the two countries. It termed the friendship between the two countries as ‘steady’.
Both sides evaluated the ongoing initiatives for the development of internal rail connectivity in Bangladesh. It has been informed that it has been decided to review initiatives for conversion of Tongi-Akhaura railway line to dual gauge, supply of ‘Railway Rolling Stock’ to Bangladesh Railway, capacity building of Bangladesh Railway staff through training institutes of Indian Railways and IT related cooperation to ensure improvement of Bangladesh Railway services.
Apart from this, India has said to take some new initiatives for the development of Bangladesh-India railway connection. Among these, Kaunia-Lalmonirhat-Mogalghat-New Gitaldah rail link, construction of rail link between Hili and Birampur, Benapole-Jesore railway and signaling system and upgrading of railway station, re-establishment of rail link between Burimari and Changrabandha, construction of a container depot at Sirajganj are noteworthy.
Indian officials said that for these pioneering projects, the financing of the projects has been ensured through multiple financial action plans under the bilateral development cooperation between Bangladesh and India. Apart from this, India has promised to provide 20 broad gauge diesel locomotives to Bangladesh through a grant at the request of Bangladesh.
Bangladesh will buy vehicles for the military
Bangladesh has agreed to initially finalize a number of projects, including plans to procure vehicles for its armed forces, under a US$500 million Indian defense loan. India has requested Bangladesh to implement the Coastal Radar System MoU signed in 2019 to ensure enhanced maritime security.
The Assam State Government assisted in the reconciliation of Kushiara
A Memorandum of Understanding has been signed on the Kushiara River with the cooperation of all Indian partners including the Assam State Government. It will help Bangladeshi farmers in irrigating the land in Northeast Bangladesh during the dry season. Similarly South Assam will also benefit from this.
In the meeting, the Indian side informed Bangladesh about the request of the Tripura state government regarding the water distribution of the Feni river. The MoU signed in 2019 to withdraw 1.82 cusecs of water from Feni river through drinking water project for the people of Tripura will soon be implemented subject to Bangladesh’s consent.
It was decided in the meeting that other rivers will now be included in the framework of information exchange and interim water sharing agreements. Both sides also agreed to form a joint technical committee to conduct a study on optimal utilization of Ganga water.
Bangladesh has again urged India to sign the Teesta Treaty, which was finalized in 2011. Both sides agreed to increase cooperation in river pollution control, river environment and navigation development.
Cooperation in power sector
Bangladesh and India will jointly undertake a ‘Special Purpose Vehicle’ to set up a high capacity 765 kV transmission line from Katihar (Bihar) via Parvatipur (Bangladesh) to Bornagar (Assam) through ‘Synchronized Grid Connectivity’. Through this connection both import and export of power will be facilitated in Bangladesh according to seasonal demand. Initiatives to implement sub-regional power grids by connecting Nepal, Bhutan and Bangladesh have gained momentum.
Cooperation in energy sector
Both sides hope for the speedy completion of the cross-border India-Bangladesh alliance pipeline to help meet Bangladesh’s energy needs. Through this, high-speed diesel will be transported directly from India to Bangladesh. India has agreed to hold preliminary talks between the affiliates of both countries to meet the growing demand for petroleum products in Bangladesh’s economy. Indian Oil Corporation Limited has now received official permission to supply petroleum products to Bangladesh.
The possibility of a special arrangement between the governments of the two countries to ensure ‘predictable supply’ of essential food items like rice, wheat, sugar, onion, ginger and garlic from India to Bangladesh to deal with the crisis has been discussed.
It was agreed to complete the construction of barbed wire fence along the entire border including Tripura. As a result of the initiative of the border guarding forces, the death rate at the border has decreased. However, a Bangladeshi was killed by BSF firing on the border yesterday.
Both the leaders pledged to fight terrorism collectively. Both sides agreed to strengthen cooperation in countering the spread of terrorism, violent extremism and radicalization in the region and beyond.