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India-Bangladesh ties have entered new phase, say Modi, Hasina

Dhaka, June 7 (IANS) India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Bangladeshi counterpart Sheikh Hasina on Sunday noted that India-Bangladesh ties have entered a new phase with a “pragmatic, mature and practical approach” and both reaffirmed their commitment to cooperate in tackling extremism and terrorism and not to allow their territory for any activity inimical to the other.

According to an exhaustive joint statement issued by both countries on Sunday, both sides agreed to enhance cooperation in the fields of energy, trade and connectivity.

Modi complimented Hasina for her support in enhancing sub-regional cooperation and connectivity and appreciated her commitment to the betterment of bilateral ties with India and the “many path breaking initiatives taken by her to provide greater depth and substance to the relationship”.

Hasina “expressed her firm belief that Prime Minister Modi’s leadership would bring in fresh impetus to the excellent bilateral relations between Bangladesh and India”.

She sought assistance from India in bringing back the mortal remains of valiant freedom fighters of Bangladesh who were buried in Indian soil during the 1971 War of Liberation. Modi agreed to extend necessary cooperation in this regard.

Hasina recalled with gratitude India’s enormous contribution to the glorious Liberation War.

Modi conveyed appreciation for conferring the ‘Bangladesh Liberation War Honour’ on former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee for his outstanding contribution to the Liberation War.

The two prime ministers gave directives to the concerned officials on both sides for expeditious implementation of the 1974 Land Boundary Agreement (LBA) and its 2011 Protocol on the ground.

The two leaders also reaffirmed their commitment to extend all facilities to the residents of the enclaves and ensure that the rights of all citizens are protected.

The historic instruments of ratification of the 1974 LBA and its 2011 Protocol were exchanged and modalities for ensuring smooth implementation of the said Agreement and Protocol were worked out under an exchange of letters.

The two prime ministers recalled the “Framework Agreement on Cooperation for Development” of 2011 and stressed on taking stock of the achievements and charting ways for future cooperation.

It was agreed that the fourth meeting of the Joint Consultative Commission led by their foreign ministers would be held in 2015 in Dhaka.

The two prime ministers 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.

Modi expressed India’s appreciation for the cooperation extended by Bangladesh in security related matters.

The two prime ministers expressed satisfaction at the conclusion of the MOUs on Prevention of Smuggling of Fake Currency Notes, Cooperation between Coast Guards and Prevention of Human Trafficking, all of which will augment security cooperation.

The two leaders 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.

They agreed on the need to free the borders from criminal activities.

Both prime ministers also welcomed the finalisation of Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for allowing usage of Indian border roads for construction and maintenance of Border Out Posts (BOPs) of Border Guard Bangladesh as well as use of Indian medical facilities in difficult areas in the border area by Bangladeshi personnel, who are deployed in vicinity.

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.

They welcomed the holding of the first round of meetings of deputy commissioners/ district magistrates of clusters of bordering districts and put emphasis on regular holding of meetings.

Hasina invited India’s cooperation in jointly developing the Ganges Barrage on the river Padma in Bangladesh.

Modi conveyed that he would have the matter examined by the concerned agencies in India, according to the joint statement.

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