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Modi-Sheikh Hasina hold talks on all aspects of ties: Both sides ink seven new pacts

New Delhi, Oct 5 (UNI) India on Saturday said it gives ‘highest priority’ to ties with its key eastern neighbour Bangladesh and both the countries signed seven documents after talks between two Prime Ministers – Narendra Modi and Sheikh Hasina – taking the relations to the next trajectory. In a brief statement after the talks, Prime Minister Modi said his government accords top priority to its ties with Bangladesh and the increasing cooperation between the two neighbouring countries has become a right model (‘behatrin udharan’) for the entire world.

Both the leaders jointly inaugurated three projects. One pertains to import of LPG import to India and two others – a vocational training centre Professional Skill Development Institute and the inauguration of Swami Vivekananda Bhawan at Ramakrishna Mission complex in Dhaka. “Touching new heights. PM Narendra Modi and Bangladesh PM Sheikh Hasina held excellent discussions touching on all aspects of the ever expanding India-Bangladesh relations,” tweeted MEA spokesman Raveesh Kumar.

Earlier in the day, External Affairs Minister Dr S Jaishankar called on the visiting dignitary. Prime Minister Hasina will also call on President Ram Nath Kovind later in the day. “A relationship setting the template for bilateral cooperation,” MEA spokesman said, adding that the two leaders have met for the second time in ten days “exemplifying the strength of India-Bangladesh ties”. Last meeting was in New York on the side lines of High Level Segment of UN General Assembly in New York on September 27.

MEA spokesman also said Dr Jaishankar had a warm conversation with Bangladesh PM and “reaffirmed India’s highest priority to her relations with Bangladesh”. The documents¬† signed include the Standard Operating Procedure on the use of Chattogram and Mongla ports, an MoU on withdrawal of 1.82 cusec of water from Feni river by India for drinking water supply scheme for Sabroom town in Tripura and an Agreement concerning implementation of Government of India’s Line of Credits extended to Bangladesh.

The pacts also relates between University of Hyderabad and University of Dhaka, an MoU on Co-operation in Youth Affairs and a pact on providing the Coastal Surveillance System. Bangladesh Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen, State Minister for Foreign Affairs M Shahriar Alam, Bangladesh High Commissioner to India Syed Muazzem Ali and Indian High Commissioner to Bangladesh Riva Ganguly Das were present at the parleys.

One of the projects included import of LPG – Liquefied Petroleum Gas – from Bangladesh for distribution in the North Eastern states. Officials said the project will also help achieve more equitable trade between two countries and pave the way for new frontiers for expansion. Prime Minister Modi said the bulk supply of LPG will boost exports, general income and employment in Bangladesh. “This project will also be environment friendly,” he remarked.

The inauguration of Vivekananda Bhawan in Ramakrishna Mission complex in Dhaka will promote liberal thought process as cherished by Bengali culture, Mr Modi said. In her remarks, Bangladesh PM maintained that the two countries are experiencing an upswing in relations the last few years including in maritime security, civil nuclear energy and trade. This is Sheikh Hasina’s first visit to India since parliamentary elections were held in Bangladesh and India.