Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen said Indian premier Narendra Modi’s visit here reflected the ‘heart-to-heart’ ties between Bangladesh and India while Dhaka wants to ensure development of the entire region utilizing this ‘golden chapter’ of relations.
“This heart-to-heart relation (between Bangladesh and India) will help us to ensure development of both the countries as well as other nations of the region,” he told reporters at a media briefing in the capital.
The foreign minister held the briefing to reveal outcomes of Narendra Modi’s two-day state visit here that also featured bilateral talks with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina held on March 27.
Momen said Dhaka saw the Indian primer’s visit in a very positive way as Modi choose Bangladesh for his first overseas visit after one and a half year amid the COVID 19 pandemic. “This visit is a pride for us … they (India) became very good friend of us,” he said.
About the bilateral talks between premiers of the two countries, the foreign minister said, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina strongly raised the issues of Teesta river water sharing agreement and border killing.
He said the Bangladesh premier strongly underscored the need for alleviating the sufferings and saving the livelihoods of millions of people dependent on the Teesta river basin
Momen said, the Indian premier showed positive approach about the signing of much awaited Teesta water sharing agreement and said they have been sincerely trying to make it possible.
“We do put our confidence on their assurance (signing of Teesta agreement,” he said adding that the Indian side reiterated, in principle, their consent about signing the agreement.
The Indian side also requested for early finalization of the draft of the interim agreement for sharing of water of the Feni River, pending with the Bangladesh side which had been agreed upon by both sides in 2011, he added.
Regarding the border killing issue, Momen said, both the leaders emphasized the importance of effective border management for ensuring a tranquil, stable and crime free border.
Both sides agreed that any death at the border is a matter of concern and directed the concerned border guarding forces to enhance people-oriented measures for ensuring border security and bring down such death of civilians to zero, he said.
Momen said the Indian premier suggested to open more border haat to increase economic activities along the frontier to reduce tragic incident like border killing.
The foreign minister said Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina requested India, as a member of the United Nations Security Council, to play a strong role in the early repatriation of the displaced Rohingyas back to Myanmar.
India assured its continued support in this regard while both the premiers reiterated the importance of their safe, speedy and sustainable return to their homeland for the greater security of the region, he added.
Momen said, both the sides decided to introduce some joint mechanism including holding Bangladesh-India business summit to expedite the economic cooperation between the two countries.
Bangladesh proposed India to use Sydpur, Sylhet and Chittagong airports as regional aviation hub to increase the trade between the two countries.
The foreign minister said the Bangladesh side thanked the India for gifting 3.2 million doses of Oxford Astra Zeneca Covishield vaccine made in India and appreciated the prompt delivery of the first batch of 5 million doses.
The Bangladesh side also requested the Indian side to facilitate regular delivery of the remaining tranches of vaccine procured by Bangladesh from the Serum Institute of India.
India assured its best cooperation in accordance with its domestic exigencies and international commitments.
The foreign minister said both prime ministers reiterated the importance of enhancing connectivity for facilitating regional economic integration for the benefits of all the parties involved.
India expressed gratitude for Prime Minister Hasina’s initiative of revitalizing the pre-1965 rail connectivity as well as for Bangladesh’s support for the numerous connectivity initiatives through rail, road and waterways.
Momen said Modi proposed to set Bangabandhu Chair at Delhi university and introduce Bangabandhu Lecture series in India.
Besides, the foreign minister said, the two prime ministers discussed about bilateral cooperation on different fields including security, energy, ICT, satellite, artificial intelligence and youth cooperation.
Foreign secretary Masud bin Momen also present at the briefing.