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India announces e-medical visa for Bangladeshis, new embassy in Rangpur after Modi-Hasina talks | WATCH

PM Modi and Sheikh Hasina signed a number of MoUs on digital partnership, green partnership, blue economy, health and medicine and railway connectivity. This is Hasina's second visit to India within a month after she attended Modi's oath taking ceremony on June 9.

Edited By: Aveek Banerjee @AveekABanerjee New Delhi Updated on: June 22, 2024 16:06 IST
PM Modi with Sheikh Hasina
Image Source : PTI PM Modi and his Bangladeshi counterpart Sheikh Hasina at a joint presser in New Delhi

New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in a joint press conference with his Bangladeshi counterpart Sheikh Hasina on Saturday, announced that India will begin an e-medical visa facility for Bangladeshis coming to India for medical treatment, as well as a new Assistant High Commission in Rangpur. PM Modi also highlighted the important achievements of India and Bangladesh for the welfare of the people.

"Today's meeting (with Hasina) is very special, as PM Sheikh Hasina is the first state guest in our third government. Bangladesh is at the confluence of '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 in his opening remarks after he and Hasina signed a number of MoUs on digital partnership, green partnership, blue economy, health and medicine and railway connectivity.

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. 

India, Bangladesh to begin talks on CEPA

Modi further asserted that India and Bangladesh have kept commerce and collaboration as the prime focus in the last 10 years. India and Bangladesh are now ready to initiate talks on the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) to take the bilateral economic ties to "new heights", he said. Both sides have also decided to initiate technical-level talks on the renewal of the 1996 Ganga Water Treaty and India will send a delegation to Bangladesh soon for talks on the conservation and management of the Teesta River.

The Indian PM also gave his best wishes to cricket teams from both countries, who will face each other in the ongoing T20 World Cup 2024. "Bangladesh is India's largest development partner and we give utmost priority to our relations with Bangladesh," he said. The two sides also had detailed discussions on defence production to the modernisation of armed forces, with India moving ahead to strengthen cooperation with Dhaka on counter-terrorism, fundamentalism and peaceful management. PM Modi welcomed Bangladesh's decision to join the Indo-Pacific Oceans Initiative and pledged to continue cooperation at BIMSTEC and other forums.

Hasina invites PM Modi to Bangladesh

Speaking on the occasion, Hasina said, "This is my first bilateral visit to any country since the 12th parliamentary elections in Bangladesh and the formation of our new government in January. I thank the government of India for extending warm hospitality to me and my delegation. India is our major neighbour, trusted friend and regional partner. Bangladesh greatly values our relations with India, which were born during our war of liberation in 1971 and the friendship has remained unbreakable."

Hasina also invited PM Modi to visit Bangladesh soon. "I am extending an invite to PM Modi to visit Bangladesh. The path to our friendship will become more strong if he visits Bangladesh." She also underscored the high-level engagements between the two sides and lauded PM Modi's role in strengthening diplomatic relations between the neighbouring countries.

Key agreements during Modi-Hasina talks

The two leaders oversaw the signing of MoUs and documents shortly before the joint presser. The agreements exchanged included a 

  • Shared Vision for India-Bangladesh Digital Partnership, 
  • Shared Vision on the India-Bangladesh Green Partnership, 
  • Maritime Cooperation and Blue Economy
  • Renewal of MoU on Cooperation in Health and Medicine
  • MoU between In-Space and Bangladesh's Ministry of ICT and Telecom
  • MoU on enhancing railway connectivity and facilitating smoother cross-border transportation
  • MoU for Cooperation in Oceanography
  • MoU to strengthen disaster management strategies and resilience efforts
  • MoU for Cooperation in Fisheries
  • MoU on military education and strategic studies cooperation

"Connectivity continues to remain one of the central pillars of the India-Bangladesh partnership. We are starting a new passenger train service between Rajshahi and Kolkata while a trial run for a good strain on the Bangladesh railway from a place called Gede Darshana to the Haldibari Chilahati cross-border interchange point is planned for next month sometime. We'll also be starting another bus service which will be between Kolkata and Chittagong," said Foreign Secretary Vinay Kwatra in a special briefing.

Kwatra further said PM Modi and Hasina focused much of their talks on defence cooperation, where they underscored the need and keenness to augment bilateral defence cooperation and support plans for both the modernisation of Bangladesh's armed forces and defence-industrial cooperation between the two countries. The two leaders also agreed to intensify engagement on counterterrorism, counter-radicalisation and peaceful management of the India-Bangladesh border.

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


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