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18 April, 2017 12:36:12 AM / LAST MODIFIED: 18 April, 2017 10:57:08 AM
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Trilateral deal to be signed this year

PM leaves for Thimphu today
DIPLOMATIC CORRESPONDENT
Trilateral deal to be signed this year

Bangladesh, Bhutan and India will sign a trilateral deal this year that will allow Bangladesh to get power from Bhutan after investing in a joint hydroelectric power projects in the Himalayan Kingdom, Foreign Secretary Shahidul Haque told a press conference at the foreign ministry yesterday.

He also said that all the three countries reached a consensus about it and the trilateral instrument will be signed during the summit of the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) to be held in Nepal. The timeframe for the summit has not yet fixed, informed an official of the foreign ministry familiar with the issue.

The foreign secretary said that they are working on two documents and the instrument can be signed either in the shape of agreement or MoU.

“In whatever form it is signed it is to be seen whether the thing we want will be delivered or not. I think it will,” he said.

About a media report stating that Bangladesh wanted an agreement, but India did not agree, the top diplomat said, “It’s not right. From the beginning, it was about an MoU.”

While speaking at the press conference organised on Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s three-day visit to Bhutan that begins today, Foreign Minister Abul Hassan Mahmood Ali said that pre-feasibility activities of two hydroelectric power projects involving Bhutan and India are going to begin.

“Bangladesh will invest $ 1 billion. Some more money might be required and the sum will be taken either from India or international organisations,” he said.
“We have to buy the electricity,” he added.
 About the quantum of electricity Bangladesh is going to have from Bhutan, Minister Ali said, “It’s substantial. It could be 1,000 megawatt.”

To a question, he could not assume any timeframe as to when the electricity from the Himalayan Kingdom would start flowing to Bangladesh.

The official familiar with the issue, however, said that the projects will produce 1,125 megawatt of electricity, which will be shared between the three countries.

“After the pre-feasibility study, it will take 2-3 years for the projects to be completed,” he said.

On the visit at the invitation of Bhutanese Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay, the foreign minister said that both the heads of the government will highlight issues relating to basin-wide water resources management, hydroelectricity, sub-regional cooperation, inter-connectivity, agriculture and simplification of trade during the bilateral talks.

Following the talks, six agreements/MoUs on transit and transhipment of Bhutanese cargoes through river routes, avoidance of double taxation, cultural cooperation, mutual certification of food standard and certification by standard testing institutions of the two countries and handover of land for the construction of Bangladesh embassy in Bhutan will be signed, he said. Sheikh Hasina will unveil the foundation stone plaque of the chancery of Bangladesh embassy in that land, he said.

Answering to a question, Minister Ali said that Bangladesh will pursue with Bhutan with regard to the approval of the upper chamber of the Bhutanese parliament to operationalise Bangladesh-Bhutan-India-Nepal (BBIN) motor vehicle agreement. Prime Minister Hasina will also have an audience with the ceremonial Bhutanese King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck.

Tomorrow, Hasina will join the opening ceremony of the “International Conference on Autism and Neurodevelopmental Disorders” as the guest of honour.
The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare of Bangladesh and the Ministry of Health of Bhutan with the technical support of Shuchona Foundation (previously known as Global Autism), Ability Bhutan Society (ABS), and World Health Organisation South-East Asia Regional Office are jointly organising the conference. Sheikh Hasina will return home on Thursday morning concluding her second overseas trip this month.

 

 

 

 

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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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