NEW DELHI: India and Bangladesh have pitched their burgeoning relations onto a higher trajectory by signing 22 agreements in diverse areas, including two crucial defence agreements and another one on civil nuclear energy cooperation. New Delhi has raised the bar for development and strategic cooperation by unveiling a combined package of $5 billion in new Lines of Credit for Dhaka.
The agreements were signed after wide-ranging talks between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Bangladesh counterpart Sheikh Hasina in the Indian capital on April 8.
India has rolled out the red carpet for the visiting Bangladesh leader, with PM Modi personally welcoming Sheikh Hasina with a bouquet of flowers at the Delhi airport.
India announced a new line of concessional credit of $4.5 billion for implementation of a wide array of projects in Bangladesh and another $500 million LOC for defence procurement by Bangladesh. The new credit package has made Bangladesh the biggest recipient of Lines of Credit from India and positioned New Delhi as a leading development partner of Dhaka.
“We held productive talks on wide-ranging issues including civil nuclear cooperation, border and Teesta water share agreement,” Mr Modi said at a joint media interaction with the Bangladesh leader.
“Energy security is an important dimension of India-Bangladesh development partnership and it continues to grow,” Mr Modi stressed.
Underlining the increasing salience ofd counter-terror cooperation in India-Bangladesh ties, Mr Modi lavished praise on Bangladesh’s efforts to curb terrorism in the country and stressed that the country’s zero tolerance policy towards terrorism is an inspiration for other countries.
Defence and security cooperation has received a big boost with Mr Modi announcing a Line of Credit of $500 million to support Bangladesh’s defence related procurement. “In implementing this line of credit, we will be guided by Bangladesh’s needs and priorities,” he stressed.
“We agreed that peace, security and development for our people and for the region will remain central to our engagement. Today, we have also taken a long overdue step by signing an agreement on close cooperation between our armed forces,” said Mr Modi.
Pushing the envelope for bilateral relations, Mr Modi outlined new areas of cooperation, including “some high-technology areas,that have a deeper connect with the youth in both our societies.” “These would include working in the fields of Electronics, Information Technology, Cyber Security, Space exploration, Civil Nuclear Energy, and others areas,” he said.
- Manish Chand is Founder-CEO and Editor-in-Chief of India Writes Network (www.indiawrites.org) and India and World, a pioneering magazine focused on international affairs. He is CEO/Director of TGII Media Private Limited, an India-based media, publishing, research and consultancy company.
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