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Overview of Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s visit to India

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On October 03-06, 2019 Bangladesh’s Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina paid a four-day official visit to India at the invitation of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. This is the first visit of Bangladesh PM since the completion of elections in both Bangladesh and India.Sheikh Hasina's visit to India

33rd India Economic Summit in New Delhi
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina was invited as the Chief Guest at the 33rd edition of the India Economic Summit organized by the World Economic Forum (WEF) in partnership with Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) from 03-04 October 2019. The theme for the 2019 summit was ’Innovating for India: Strengthening South Asia, Impacting the World‘.
i. Bangladesh’s Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina co-chaired the summit along with India’s Sania Mirza, the UN Women Goodwill Ambassador for South Asia, Singapore’s Deputy Prime Minister HengSwee Kea. Other officials who co-chaired the Summit included ShobanaKamineni, Executive Vice Chairperson of Apollo Hospitals Enterprise, Shailendra Singh, Managing Director of Sequoia Capital, India.
ii. Talks were held on artificial intelligence(AI) and drones, start-up unicorns, infrastructure, environmental reforms, gender parity, education and South Asia’s economic outlook. The talks in detail are as follows.

  • Medicines from the Sky: The Telangana govt. in collaboration with Apollo Hospitals and the WEF formalised a 6-month pilot project called ‘Medicines from the Sky’. The project will begin in 2020 and aims to explore drone usage in healthcare. For this, the WEF has collaborated with Marut Drones, India Flying Labs and GEN India etc.
  • EV corridor in Punjab: A 100 km electric vehicle corridor is to be established in Punjab soon.
  • WEF survey: The WEF has released a report stating that India has the potential to become the largest EV (Electric Vehicle) market in the world. The WEF Survey that had 10,000 respondents for the opinion poll from 29 countries found that Indian respondents are exceptional in terms of their optimism.
  • The programme also outlined the South Asia’s relationship with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).
  • Participants: More than 800 leaders from 40 countries from civil society, arts and culture, science, business and academia participated in the event.

MoUs signed:
The following 7 Memorandum of Understandings(MoU) were signed between India and Bangladesh

No.MoU MoU signed from Indian sideMoU signed from Bangladesh side
1Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) on the use of Chattogram and Mongla portsShri Gopal Krishna, Secretary, Ministry of Shipping.H.E. Mr. Syed Muazzem Ali, High Commissioner of Bangladesh to India.
2MoU on withdrawal of 1.82 cusec of water from Feni river by India for drinking water supply, scheme for Sabroom town, Tripura, IndiaMr. Upendra Prasad Singh,Secretary, Ministry of Water Resources.Mr. Kabir Bin Anwar, Secretary, Ministry of Water Resources.
3Agreement concerning implementation of GoI Line of Credits (LOC) extended to BangladeshSmt.RivaGanguly Das, High Commissioner of India to Bangladesh.Md. Shahriar Kader Siddiky, Joint Secretary, Economic Relations Division, Ministry of Finance.
4MoU between University of Hyderabad and University of DhakaSmt.RivaGanguly Das, High Commissioner of India to Bangladesh.Prof. Dr. Md. Akhteruzzaman, Vice Chancellor, University of Dhaka.
5Cultural Exchange Programme- RenewalSmt. Riva Ganguly Das, High Commissioner of India to Bangladesh.Dr. Abu HenaMostofa Kamal, Secretary, Ministry of Cultural Affairs.
6MoU on Co-operation in Youth AffairsSmt. Riva Ganguly Das, High Commissioner of India to Bangladesh.Md. Akhter Hossain, Secretary, Ministry of Youth and Sport.
7MoU on providing Coastal Surveillance SystemSmt. Riva Ganguly Das, High Commissioner of India to Bangladesh.Mr. Mostafa Kamal Uddin, Sr. Secretary, Ministry of Home Affairs.

Bilateral projects:
A total of 3 bilateral projects were inaugurated through video link. The three projects unveiled were in three separate but key areas like energy, skill development and people to people ties. They were

  • Import of Bulk LPG (liquefied petroleum gas) from Bangladesh.
  • Vocational training and
  • Social training facilities

India – Bangladesh Business forum meet in New Delhi
The India- Bangladesh Business forum meet was held on October 4, 2019. It was attended by Union Minister of Commerce & Industry and Railways, PiyushGoyal in presence of Bangladesh prime minister Sheik Hasina.

  • Bangladesh PM informed about the three Special Economic Zones(SEZ) set up in Bangladesh for the Indian investors that would broaden the export base of Bangladesh.
  • It was on this occasion two Government to Business (G2B) MoUs were signed between Start up Bangladesh and Tech Mahindra and Bangladesh Economic Zones Authority and Adani Ports and SEZs.
  • Bangladesh being India’s biggest trade partner in South Asia has bilateral trade growth since last decade. India’s exports to Bangladesh for the financial year 2018-19 (April-March) stood at USD 9.21 billion while imports from Bangladesh for the same period stood at USD 1.22 billion.
  • India and Bangladesh are members of the Asia Pacific Trade Agreement (APTA), SAARC Preferential Trade Agreement (SAPTA) and the Agreement on South Asian Free Trade Area (SAFTA) that governs trade tariff regimes. India has granted duty free quota free access to Bangladesh on all items except for alcohol and tobacco.
  • Border Haats: Four Border Haats (rural markets), two each in Tripura (Srinagar and Kamalasagar) and Meghalaya (Kalaichar and Balat), have been established for benefiting the local communities living along the border areas of both countries. Ten additional Border Haats on the India-Bangladesh border are under implementation.
  • FDI: The Foreign Direct Investment(FFDI) from India to Bangladesh has more than doubled from USD 243.91 million in 2014 to USD 570.11 million in December 2018.

Meet with President: 
On October 5, 2019 Hasina visited RashtrapatiBhavan in New Delhi to meet President Ram NathKovind. The Indian president appreciated Bangladesh’s zero-tolerance policy on terrorism. The president also expressed his views that the India-bangladesh bilateral projects would create a prosperous neighbourhood.

Meet with Indian PM: The Bangladesh PM met PM of India Shri Narendra Modi, and both the leaders discussed the issues of mutual interest. The issues of Teesta water sharing and Rohingya were also discussed.

Meet with EAM: Sheikh Hasina met the External Affairs Minister of India Shri SubramanyamJaishankar on October 5, 2019 and held talks on trade connectivity, development cooperation, etc.

About World Economic Forum(WEF):
Headquarters- Cologny, Switzerland.
Founder- Klaus Schwab.
Founded- January 1971.
Motto- Committed to improving the state of the world.

About Bangladesh:
Capital- Dhaka.
Currency- Bangladeshi taka.