Connectivity with Bangladesh is of prime importance, says Jaishankar in Dhaka

Ahead of India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s trip to Bangladesh towards March-end, External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar held discussion in Dhaka and outlined that enhancing connectivity will be top priority in India-Bangladesh relations.The two sides held discussions on a wide range of issues, including cooperation in areas of education, health and culture. “It is a truly a 360-degree partnership”, said the minister.

Connectivity

India’s Neighbourhood First Policy has always been at forefront for its diplomatic initiatives, which also provides an impetus to its ‘Act East Policy,’ said Mr Jaishankar. “India is keen to focus on the development of connectivity with Bangladesh and beyond for next 20 years to change the region’s geo-economic scenario,” said the minister.

Partnering with Japan

Mr Jaishankar also talked about involving a third country, preferably Japan, to be a major stakeholder in the bilateral engagement in terms of connectivity as both Dhaka and New Delhi were having “very good” relations with Tokyo. “Japan is involved in connectivity projects in the Bay of Bengal. I can tell you the whole geo-economics of the region will change, the Bay of Bengal will look very different”, he said.Mr Jaishankar’s visit to Dhaka underlined India’s solidarity with Bangladesh in fight against the COVID pandemic.“The pandemic has actually provided an opportunity to reaffirm our friendship. Bangladesh is the largest recipient of Made-in-India vaccines. Also, among the friendship our largest gift of vaccines of 2 million, which is really appropriate that it is to Bangladesh,” said the minister.India has sent over 2 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine as a gift to Bangladesh.

Speaking on the long-pending deal on the sharing of Teesta waters, Mr Jaishankar said that the Government of India’s position remains unchanged on the issue. “We would have a meeting of our water resources secretaries very soon. India had already in principle agreed to sign the agreement but its internal problems barred New Delhi to ink it yet”, he mentioned.Replying to a question on the killings of Bangladeshis by the Border Security Force, the minister said, “We have talked about it. Many of the deaths take place inside India. Every death is regrettable.”

The deaths occurred due to the crimes along the border, he said, expressing optimism that it could be stopped by the joint efforts of both the countries.“But the problem is because of crime. So our shared objective should be there will be ‘no crime, no death’ on the border. I am sure if we can get it right, we can together address the problem effectively,” he added.

 

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