Modi, Sheikh Hasina hold extensive talks, ink pact to boost ties in maritime sphere, blue economy

New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday held extensive talks with his visiting Bangladeshi counterpart Sheikh Hasina to shore up cooperation in diverse areas including trade and connectivity. The two leaders decided to expand cooperation in several new areas and inked a raft of agreements, including to boost ties in the maritime sphere and blue economy.

The key pacts signed by the two sides included one on forging strong ties in the digital domain and another on having a “green partnership”. The two sides also inked an agreement on railway connectivity.

“Today we have prepared a futuristic vision for cooperation in new areas. The youth of both the countries will benefit from the consensus reached on cooperation in areas such as green partnership, digital partnership, blue economy and space,” Modi said in his statement to the media.

In her remarks, Hasina described India as Bangladesh’s major neighbour and a trusted friend. “India is our major neighbour, trusted friend and regional partner. Bangladesh greatly values our relations with India, which were born out of the War of Liberation in 1971,” she said. “I recall with gratitude the contribution of the government and the people of India to Bangladesh’s independence,” she said.

She also paid homage to the “brave fallen heroes of India” who sacrificed their lives in the 1971 war. “Today, we had very productive meetings where we discussed cooperation in areas of security, trade, connectivity, sharing of water from common rivers, power and energy, and regional and multilateral cooperation,” she said. “We agreed to collaborate with each other for the betterment of our people and countries,” she added.

This visit by the Bangladeshi Prime Minister is the first incoming bilateral state visit by a foreign leader after the formation of the new government in India following the Lok Sabha elections. Ms. Hasina is on a two-day visit to India, and arrived in the country on June 21.

In a post on X, External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Randhir Jaiswal said, “PM @narendramodi extended a warm welcome to PM Sheikh Hasina of Bangladesh at Hyderabad House ahead of their bilateral discussions,” adding, “The two leaders have met each other ten times since 2019, making unprecedented transformations in the relationship.”

Earlier, the Bangladesh Prime Minister visited Rajghat and laid floral wreaths at the memorial site where Mahatma Gandhi was laid to rest. After she paid tribute to Mahatma Gandhi, PM Hasina was gifted a book and a bust of Mahatma Gandhi.

She also received a ceremonial reception at Rashtrapati Bhavan in the presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi on June 22. Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and Prime Minister Narendra Modi met with Ministers and delegates from both countries at the forecourt of Rashtrapati Bhavan.

External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar, Union Minister J.P. Nadda, Minsters of State Jitendra Singh and Kirti Vardhan Singh were also present on the occasion to welcome the Bangladesh PM.PM Hasina arrived in India on Friday on a two-day State visit at the invitation of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Major Boost to India-Bangladesh Ties:

This visit will give a “major boost” to India-Bangladesh ties, Official Spokesperson, Ministry of External Affairs, Randhir Jaiswal said in a social media post.” PM Sheikh Hasina of Bangladesh arrives in New Delhi on a State Visit to India. Warmly welcomed by MoS @KVSinghMPGonda at the airport. Bangladesh is a key partner and trusted neighbour of India. The visit will give a major boost to this celebrated bilateral partnership,” read Mr. Jaiswal’s post on X.

Jaishankar had yesterday called on the Bangladesh PM and following the meeting, the Union Minister said that her State visit highlights “close and abiding ties” between the two countries. Newly-appointed External Affairs Minister of State (MoS) Kirtivardhan Singh welcomed the visiting Bangladesh PM at the airport upon her arrival.

This is the first incoming bilateral State Visit after the formation of the government in India following the 18th Lok Sabha elections, MEA said in a statement a day ago. “During the visit, apart from holding bilateral consultations with the Prime Minister, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is scheduled to call on President Droupadi Murmu and Vice President Jagdeep Dhankhar,” the Foreign Ministry statement read.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina was among the international leaders who attended the swearing-in ceremony of the Prime Minister and the Union Council of Ministers on June 9.

Over the years, India and Bangladesh have forged a multifaceted relationship, marked by a shared history, culture, and geographical proximity. The two neighbours enjoy warm ties, which have further expanded under the leadership of PM Modi and Sheikh Hasina. The year 2023 witnessed a spur of bilateral activities between both countries as an embodiment of the strength of the relationship. Both Prime Ministers jointly inaugurated the India-Bangladesh Friendship Pipeline on March 18 in a virtual format.

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