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PM Modi and Sheikh Hasina Forge Stronger Ties in Defence, Connectivity, and Commerce A range of topics – defence, connectivity and infrastructure, power and energy cooperation, trade and economic partnership, development cooperation, river water-sharing and cultural ties – were discussed during the bilateral talk.

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NEW DELHI: In a pivotal meeting on Saturday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina delved into critical bilateral issues, focusing on defence collaboration, counter-terrorism, and border management.

During the joint press conference, PM Modi underscored Bangladesh’s strategic role in India’s Neighbourhood First Policy, Act East Policy, Vision SAGAR, and Indo-Pacific Vision. He remarked, “To further fortify our defence ties, we discussed everything from defence production to the modernization of armed forces. We have resolved to intensify our cooperation in counter-terrorism, combating fundamentalism, and ensuring peaceful border management.”

PM Modi also welcomed Bangladesh’s alignment with the Indo-Pacific Oceans Initiative and stressed continued collaboration through BIMSTEC and other regional and international platforms. He noted the completion of several public welfare projects and announced plans to enhance digital and energy connectivity, underscoring the significance of connectivity, commerce, and collaboration in future cooperation.

India-Bangladesh: A relationship serving as a role model for neighbourhood partnership!

Key Areas of Cooperation:

1. Green Partnership and Blue Economy: The leaders agreed on a vision for a “green partnership” and Blue Economy, signing agreements to boost collaboration in the digital domain, maritime sector, and railway connectivity. PM Modi highlighted, “The youth of both countries will benefit from our consensus on Green Partnership, Digital Partnership, Blue Economy, and Space cooperation.”

2. E-Medical Visa and Consulate in Rangpur: PM Modi introduced an e-medical visa for Bangladeshi nationals seeking treatment in India and announced the opening of a new consulate in Rangpur. “India will start e-medical visas for Bangladeshi nationals seeking medical treatment. We will also open a new Assistant High Commission in Rangpur to serve the northwest region of Bangladesh,” he said.

3. Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA): The leaders agreed to commence talks on CEPA to advance economic ties, emphasizing ‘Connectivity, Commerce, Collaboration.’

4. Strategic Location and Policy Integration: Reaffirming Bangladesh’s strategic importance, PM Modi stated, “Bangladesh is pivotal to our Neighbourhood First policy, Act East Policy, Vision SAGAR, and Indo-Pacific Vision.” He noted the completion of significant public welfare projects.

5. Indo-Pacific Oceans Initiative:PM Modi welcomed Bangladesh’s participation and reiterated cooperation in regional and international forums, including BIMSTEC.

6. Water Resource Management: Technical discussions are set to begin for renewing the Ganga River treaty, with a team visiting Bangladesh to review the Teesta River’s protection and management.

7. Cricket Diplomacy:Ahead of the T20 World Cup Super 8 clash, PM Modi extended best wishes to both Indian and Bangladeshi cricket teams.

8. Defence Cooperation: PM Modi emphasized talks on strengthening defence ties, mentioning, “We discussed everything from defence production to armed forces modernization. We will also boost our cooperation in counter-terrorism and border management.” He announced the Bharat-Bangladesh Maitri Satellite to enhance bilateral relations.

9. Trade in Indian Rupees: India and Bangladesh have commenced trading in Indian Rupees, and electricity from Nepal will be exported to Bangladesh via the Indian grid.

10. Invitation to Visit Bangladesh: PM Sheikh Hasina invited PM Modi to visit Bangladesh to further strengthen bilateral relations. She emphasized, “India is our major neighbor and a trusted friend,” and valued the relationship from the 1971 liberation war.

In an exclusive interview with WNN, Bangladesh’s State Minister of Commerce, Ahsanul Islam Titu, invited Indian businesses to invest in Bangladesh’s special economic zones, highlighting the potential for bilateral economic cooperation.

“Bangladesh is India’s land bridge to Southeast Asia. Together, we can address the market as supply chains shift,” he stated, emphasizing the potential for joint ventures and connections across bordering regions, including India’s northeastern states.

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– Dr. Shahid Siddiqui; Follow via X @shahidsiddiqui

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