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8 June, 2015 10:29:20 AM
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River linking won’t harm Bangladesh: Modi

Water-sharing pacts ‘as soon as possible’, reiterates the Indian prime minister
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River linking won’t harm Bangladesh: Modi

Narendra Modi reiterated that India would not take any unilateral decision on the Himalayan component of their River Interlinking Project, which could affect Bangladesh, a Bangladesh-India joint declaration said referring to the meeting between the premiers of both the countries that took place on Saturday. The statement also said Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and her Indian counterpart Narendra Modi have directed their officials to take expeditious action to conclude water sharing arrangement of various common rivers at the earliest.
The two Prime Ministers noted that discussions on various aspects relating to sharing of water of the Manu, Muhuri, Khowai, Gumti, Dharla and Dudhkumar rivers are taking place at technical levels under the Joint River Commission (JRC), according to the 65-point Joint Declaration issued yesterday - the second and final day of the visit of the Indian premier. The Joint Declaration has been christened as “Notun Projonmo – Nayi Disha”, implying start of a new chapter of relationship between the immediate neighbours.
Recalling the Article 2 of the Framework Agreement on Cooperation for Development of 2011, both Prime Ministers reiterated their commitment to address the issue of water resources management of common rivers, including water sharing, in a holistic manner through common basin management.
Prime Minister Hasina requested her Indian counterpart Modi for immediate conclusion of the Interim Agreement on Sharing of the Water of Teesta, as agreed upon by the two governments in January 2011.
In response, Modi conveyed that deliberations are underway involving all stakeholders for conclusion of the interim agreements on sharing of water of Teesta and Feni rivers as soon as possible.
Prime Minister Hasina invited India’s cooperation in jointly developing the Ganges Barrage on the river Padma in Bangladesh. In reply, PM Modi conveyed that he would have the matter examined by the agencies concerned in India.
Modi also conveyed that the Tipaimukh Hydro-Electric Power Project is not likely to be taken forward in its present form due to statutory requirements on the Indian side and that India would not take any unilateral decision on this matter that may adversely impact Bangladesh.
The two Prime Ministers stressed the need for holding the 38th Ministerial Meeting of the JRC at an early date to discuss all issues pertinent to water resources for mutual

benefit. They expressed satisfaction at the unparalleled level of cooperation between the two countries on security related issues and reaffirmed their unequivocal and uncompromising position against extremism and terrorism in all forms and manifestations, as well as their commitment to cooperate with each other by sharing information about groups and persons indulging in terrorism.
They reiterated their commitment that their respective territories would not be allowed to be used for any activity inimical to the other.
Prime Minister Modi expressed India’s appreciation for the cooperation extended by Bangladesh in security-related matters.
The two premiers also stressed the need for effective implementation of the Coordinated Border Management Plan (CBMP) for better border management, so as to prevent cross-border criminal activities, irregular movements, incidents of violence and tragic loss of lives.
They reiterated that the number of deaths at the border must be brought down to zero and directed the authorities concerned and border guarding forces to work to that effect.
Both leaders noted that Dhaka and New Delhi have entered a new phase in bilateral relations with a pragmatic, mature and practical approach based on sovereignty, equality, friendship, trust and understanding for the mutual benefit of their peoples and collective prosperity of the region.
They recognised that the destiny of the peoples of the two countries is interlinked in their quest for peace, development and stability.
During the talks, the two Prime Ministers recalled the common bonds of history, tradition, aspirations and multitude of other commonalities between the two countries and reiterated their firm conviction to further strengthen the bilateral relations, stated the Joint Statement.
The Indian Prime Minister appreciated the steps taken by his Bangladeshi counterpart Hasina towards strengthening democracy and promoting peace, security and stability in the region and beyond.
Complimenting Hasina for her support to innovative ideas for enhancing sub-regional cooperation and connectivity, he also appreciated her commitment to the betterment of bilateral ties with India and the many path-breaking initiatives undertaken by her to provide greater depth and substance to the relationship.
PM Hasina appreciated Modi for his dynamic and pragmatic approach in leading the largest democracy and one of the largest and fastest growing economies in the world. She expressed her firm belief that Prime Minister Modi’s leadership would give fresh impetus to the excellent bilateral relations between Bangladesh and India.
Both Prime Ministers underscored the need to preserve the memory and legacy of the Great Liberation War and the freedom fighters. Hasina also sought assistance from India in bringing back the mortal remains of valiant freedom fighters of Bangladesh, who had been buried in Indian soil during the 1971 War of Liberation, and Modi agreed to extend necessary cooperation in this regard.
Both Prime Ministers expressed satisfaction over the historic passage of the 100th Constitutional Amendment Bill in the Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha of the Indian Parliament to give effect to the 1974 Land Boundary Agreement and its 2011 Protocol.
Describing this as a milestone in Bangladesh-India relation, they gave directives to the officials concerned on both sides for expeditious implementation of the 1974 Land Boundary Agreement and its 2011 Protocol on ground.
Further, they reaffirmed their commitment to extend all facilities to the residents of the enclaves and ensure that the rights of all citizens are protected.
The two Prime Ministers also expressed deep satisfaction at the level of cooperation and achievements in the power sector between the two countries and agreed to widen the cooperation further.
They expressed happiness at the pace of work of the Bangladesh-India Friendship Power Company’s 1,320 MW coal-fired power plants at Rampal and Bagerhat in Bangladesh, and were optimistic that the plant would be operational by the target date and meet the environmental and energy efficiency standards to become a fine example of Bangladesh-India cooperation.
Noting Bangladesh’s interest in importing power under the Bangladesh, Bhutan, India and Nepal (BBIN) Framework, India agreed to favourably consider such import subject to grid security, transmission, interconnection and applicable laws, rules and regulations of the respective countries.
The two Prime Ministers agreed to further enhance cooperation in energy sector, particularly in renewable energy and nuclear energy. They agreed to cooperate in the field of civil nuclear energy, especially training for technical personnel.
Keeping in view the growing cooperation between the two countries in the energy sector, the two Prime Ministers decided to initiate an annual India-Bangladesh Energy Dialogue to be led jointly by Secretary (Petroleum) of India, and Secretary, Power Division of Bangladesh, to undertake comprehensive energy sector cooperation, including areas of coal, natural gas, LNG, supply of petroleum products in the sub-region, renewable energy, oil and gas pipelines etc.
Prime Minister Modi emphasised the importance and need to increase Indian investment in Bangladesh and underscored the role of the private sector in this regard.
Both Prime Ministers emphasised the importance of seamless, multi-modal connectivity to ensure regional economic development and people-to-people contact.
They noted that roadways, railways and waterways are the building blocks to an inter-dependent and mutually beneficial relationship among the countries of the region. In this context, PM Modi agreed to consider Bangladesh’s proposal to introduce the 2nd Maitree Express between Khulna and Kolkata.
They directed the officials concerned on both sides to take measures for ensuring more passenger-friendly customs and immigration facilities for the passengers of Maitree Express. Prime Minister Modi announced that India will construct a modern International Passenger Terminal (IPT) at a suitable location in India, so as to facilitate customs and immigration requirements of passengers travelling on the Kolkata-Dhaka Maitri Express and other trains that are to connect India and Bangladesh.
Both Prime Ministers agreed that the advantages of sub-regional cooperation in power sector, water resources, trade, transit and connectivity should be harnessed to mutual benefit. The two Prime Ministers also recognised the need to exploit the synergies between the two countries for expanding the relationship to newer areas. Premier Modi deeply appreciated the Government of Bangladesh for allowing transhipment of 25,000 MT of food grains to Tripura across Bangladeshi territory on humanitarian grounds.

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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman

Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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