Significantly scaling up bilateral ties, India and Bangladesh on Sunday said they have decided to expeditiously implement the historic Land Boundary Agreement on the ground and cooperate in a wide array of areas such as civil nuclear energy, petroleum and power.
A joint declaration titled ‘Notun Projonmo -– Nayi Disha’ (New Generation, New Direction), said Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Bangladeshi counterpart Sheikh Hasina had agreed to “further enhance cooperation” in the energy sector particularly in renewable energy and nuclear energy.
“Both Prime Ministers agreed to cooperate in the field of civil nuclear energy, especially training for technical personnel,” the statement said giving an insight into the issues discussed during Modi’s meeting with Hasina on Saturday.
Significantly, the statement said Modi and Hasina have given directives to the concerned officials on both sides for “expeditious implementation of the 1974 Land Boundary Agreement and its 2011 Protocol on the ground.”
On the first day of Prime Minister Modi’s maiden visit, the two sides had swapped documents regarding the LBA that paves the way for the operationalisation of the 1974 pact under which 161 enclaves under the control of either countries will be exchanged.
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 declaration said.
Elaborating on the energy sector, an area of “growing cooperation”, the document said the two countries have decided to initiate an annual India-Bangladesh Energy Dialogue to be led jointly by secretary (petroleum) of India and secretary, power division of Bangladesh.
The dialogue will undertake comprehensive energy sector cooperation including in areas of coal, natural gas, LNG, supply of petroleum products in the sub-region, renewable energy, oil and gas pipelines etc.
In an attempt to bolster connectivity in the region, Modi agreed to consider Bangladesh’s proposal to introduce the second Maitree Express between Khulna and Kolkata.
“The two Prime Ministers expressed satisfaction about the ongoing cooperation in the railways sector including the Akhaura-Agartala railway link and revival of the old railway links,” the declaration noted.
Modi and Hasina welcomed the signing of the ‘Coastal Shipping Agreement’, which they said would open up newer avenues of cooperation in the areas of bilateral and regional trade and connectivity.
“Both the Prime Ministers agreed on the need for dredging of the Bangladesh-India inland water protocol routes to utilise their full potential,” the joint declaration said.
The two Prime Ministers expressed satisfaction at the “unparallelled” 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”, it said.
They reiterated their commitment that their respective territories would not be allowed to be used for any activity inimical to the other, the declaration said.
“As well as their commitment to cooperate with each other by sharing information about groups and persons indulging in terrorism,” it said. “The two Prime Ministers 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 movement, incidents of violence and tragic loss of lives,” it said.
Both Prime Ministers reiterated that the number of deaths at the border must be brought down to zero and directed the concerned authorities and border guarding forces to work to that effect, it added.