Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday said rising energy prices are presently posing a challenge to all developing countries and fruitful talks between Bangladesh and India are underway on connecting power transmission lines.
“The unveiling of the first unit of Maitree Thermal Power Plant today will increase the availability of affordable electricity in Bangladesh,” he said after his “extensive discussions” with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on all bilateral, regional and international issues, reports UNB.
The Indian PM said his country is the largest market in Asia for Bangladesh’s exports and to further “accelerate” this growth, they will soon start discussions on the bilateral Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA). “Our bilateral trade is growing rapidly.”
Modi said the two economies will be able to connect more with each other, support each other with the expansion of connectivity between the two countries and the development of trade infrastructure on the border.
The Indian PM said he had a “fruitful conversation” with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on enhancing cooperation in relation to flood mitigation.
He said India has been sharing flood-related data with Bangladesh on a real-time basis and we have also extended the period of data sharing.
There are 54 rivers that pass through the Indo-Bangladesh border, and have been linked to the livelihood of the people of the two countries for centuries.
“These rivers, folk tales about them, folk songs, have also been witness to our shared cultural heritage. Today, we have signed an important agreement on sharing water of the Kushiyara river. This will benefit Southern Assam in India and Sylhet region in Bangladesh,” Modi said.
In realizing the vision of a stable, prosperous and progressive Bangladesh that Bangabandhu had seen, Modi said, India will continue to walk step by step with Bangladesh. “Our conversation today was also an excellent opportunity to reiterate this core commitment.”
“Today, we also stressed on cooperation against terrorism and radicalism. To keep the spirit of 1971 alive, it is also very important that we fight together with such forces, which want to attack our mutual trust,” he added.
Modi said Bangladesh has made remarkable progress under the leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.
In the last few years, he said, their mutual cooperation has also increased rapidly in every field. “Today, Bangladesh is India’s largest development partner and our largest trade partner in the region.”
Modi said their close cultural and people-to-people relations have also steadily grown.
He said they both believe that by taking lessons from the COVID pandemic and recent global developments, they need to make our economies stronger.
“We also decided to increase cooperation in sectors like IT, space and nuclear energy, which are of interest to our younger generations. We will also continue to cooperate on climate change and on preserving a common heritage like the Sundarbans,’ Modi said.
He said the inauguration of the railway bridge over the Rupsha River is a remarkable step towards enhancing connectivity.
This bridge is an important part of the new railway line being built between Khulna and Mongla Port under India’s Line of Credit.
Modi said India will continue to extend all support for the development and expansion of Bangladesh’s railway system.