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Transcending seas and space, PM Modi and Sheikh Hasina launch futuristic India-Bangladesh partnership

Setting a futuristic vision for bilateral cooperation in new areas, India and Bangladesh concluded 10 agreements following a meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Bangladesh counterpart Sheikh Hasina at the Hyderabad House here on Saturday.

Turning the historic relationship between the two neighbouring countries into a transformational partnership, both leaders jointly agreed to the India-Bangladesh shared vision for the future, including enhanced connectivity, commerce, and collaboration for shared prosperity.

The vision document for a futuristic partnership between India and Bangladesh seeks to realise respective national development visions of having a ‘Viksit Bharat’ by 2047 and a ‘Smart Bangladesh’ by 2041.

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Two other futuristic and forward-looking documents – ‘Shared Vision for India Bangladesh Digital Partnership’ and ‘Green Partnership for Sustainable Future’ – were also agreed upon between the two sides.

MoUs on maritime cooperation and blue economy; space cooperation; railway connectivity; oceanography; and cooperation concerning military education in strategic and operational studies were also signed.

As many as three MoUs were renewed on cooperation in health and medicine, disaster management, and fisheries. Both the PMs also agreed to intensify engagement in counter-terrorism, counter-radicalisation, and peaceful management of the long land border.

With connectivity being one of the most significant pillars of the India-Bangladesh partnership, it was also decided to start a new passenger train between Rajshahi and Kolkata, while the trial run for a goods train on Bangladesh Railway from Gede-Darshana to Haldibari–Chilahati cross-border interchange point is planned for next month.

“This will also help sub-regional connectivity with Bhutan. We will also start a bus service from Kolkata to Chittagong,” said Foreign Secretary Vinay Kwatra after the meeting between the two Prime Ministers.

The two sides also exchanged an MoU on space technology that seeks to establish collaboration for the launch of a jointly-developed small satellite for Bangladesh on India’s launch vehicle.

In terms of bilateral partnership on river management, a joint technical committee has been formed to initiate discussions for the renewal of the Ganges Water Sharing Treaty of 1996. “We will also undertake the management and conservation of Teesta River inside Bangladesh with suitable Indian assistance,” said the Indian Foreign Secretary.

Earlier, Prime Minister Modi reiterated India’s commitment to realising Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman’s vision of a stable, prosperous, and progressive Bangladesh while asserting that New Delhi will continue to give the highest priority to its relations with Dhaka.

“Bangladesh is India’s largest development partner and lies at the confluence of our ‘Neighbourhood First’ policy, Act East policy, Vision SAGAR, and Indo-Pacific vision. Together, we have completed many important public welfare projects in the last one year,” PM Modi said after holding talks with the visiting Bangladesh PM.

PM Modi also said that both countries have prepared a futuristic vision for cooperation in new areas. “The youth of both countries will benefit from the consensus reached on cooperation in areas such as green partnership, digital partnership, blue economy, and space,” said Prime Minister Modi.

“We welcome Bangladesh’s decision to join the Indo-Pacific Oceans Initiative. We will also continue our cooperation in other regional and international fora, including BIMSTEC,” he added. The two leaders have met each other 10 times since 2019, making unprecedented transformations in the relationship which has served as a role model for neighbourhood partnership.

External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar highlighted that the State visit of the Bangladesh PM reflects the depth of Bharat-Bangladesh Maitri. “That PM Hasina is the first State guest in our new term shows the importance we attach to India-Bangladesh relationships. As PM Narendra Modi said, Bangladesh lies at the intersection of our Neighborhood First, Act East, SAGAR, and Indo-Pacific policies,” Jaishankar said in a post on X on Saturday.

“Being truly good neighbours, our ties are consolidating traditional areas and covering new ground. The agreements signed today show the breadth of our bonds. From seas to space, digital, green and health, military, rail and disaster, our two countries are collaborating across all avenues of human endeavour,” Jaishankar said while hoping that the partnership between the two nations will continue to grow under the leadership of both the leaders.

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