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PM Modi holds talks with Bangladesh's Sheikh Hasina, MoUs signed on defence, railways | WATCH

Hasina's visit marks the first such bilateral visit by a foreign leader after the PM Modi-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) came back to power for a record third time. She previously arrived in India to attend PM Modi's oath-taking ceremony as he took helm of the government for the third time.

Edited By: Aveek Banerjee @AveekABanerjee New Delhi Updated on: June 22, 2024 14:09 IST
PM Modi meets Sheikh Hasina
Image Source : MEA PM Modi with Bangladesh PM Sheikh Hasina at Hyderabad House.

New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi held a bilateral meeting with his Bangladeshi counterpart Sheikh Hasina at the Hyderabad House on Saturday, after giving her a ceremonial welcome at the Rashtrapati Bhavan earlier in the day. PM Modi personally welcomed the Bangladeshi premier, who is the first foreign leader to visit India after the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) formed the government for the third consecutive time.

The two leaders held wide-ranging talks on areas of bilateral cooperation including development partnership, energy, water resources, trade, defence cooperation, and more. Earlier today, Hasina was greeted by PM Modi at the presidential residence in the national capital and was accorded a ceremonial welcome upon her arrival. She and PM Modi met ministers and delegates from both countries at the venue, after which she left for Rajghat to pay respects to Mahatma Gandhi. She also held delegation-level talks with the Indian side in the presence of PM Modi.

The two leaders later witnessed the signing of several MoUs on digital partnership, green partnership, blue economy, health and medicine and railway connectivity. "Today's meeting is very special, as PM Sheikh Hasina is the first state guest in our third government. Bangladesh is at the confluence 'Neighbourhood First' and 'Act East' policies as well as SAGAR and Indo-Pacific visions. In the last year, we have completed several crucial initiatives for the welfare of the people," PM Modi said after the exchange of MoUs.

The Indian PM further said that trade in Indian rupees has begun in the two countries, along with other achievements like the world's longest river cruise on the Ganges River, the first cross-border friendship pipeline and the export of electricity from Nepal to Bangladesh through the Indian grid. "Implementing such a big initiative in so many areas in just one year reflects the speed and scale of our relations," he added. 

According to the Ministry of External Affairs, the two leaders have met each other at least ten times since 2019. Hasina was also among seven top leaders from the Indian Ocean Region (IOR) and Indian neighbourhood who attended the swearing-in ceremony of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his council of ministers at the Rashtrapati Bhavan on June 9. Her visit comes amid an upswing in the bilateral relations between India and Bangladesh in the last few years.

Hasina will also attend a banquet hosted by PM Modi in her honour at the Hyderabad House. The Bangladeshi Prime Minister will also call on President Droupadi Murmu and Vice President Jagdeep Dhankar later in the day. External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar called on Hasina on Friday evening. "Her State visit to India underlines our close and abiding ties. Appreciate her guidance on the further development of our special partnership," he said after the meeting.

India-Bangladesh ties

India, under its "Neighbourhood First" policy, has always considered Bangladesh an important partner and cooperation extends to areas of security, trade, commerce, energy, connectivity, science and technology, defence and maritime affairs among others.

In the connectivity sector, India and Bangladesh are making stride through the Maitri Setu bridge over river Feni in Tripura and the Chilahati-Haldibari rail link. Bangladesh is India's largest development partner with nearly one-fourth of New Delhi's commitment under the Line of Credit has been made to that country.

Talking about the trade relations between the two countries, Bangladesh is India's biggest trading partner in South Asia while India is the second biggest trading partner of Bangladesh in the Asian continent. Apart from that, India is Bangladesh's largest export destination in Asia. As of year 2022-23, Bangladeshi exports to India stood at about $2 billion. Moreover, the bilateral trade between both countries in 2022-23 was reported to be at $15.9 billion.

(with agency inputs)

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