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Overview of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s 2-day visit to Bangladesh

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PM Modi's Two-Day Visit To BangladeshIndian Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited Bangladesh from March 26-27, 2021 at the invitation of Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. During the meeting, PM Narendra Modi participated in major events such as

  • Golden Jubilee Celebrations of the Independence of Bangladesh. PM Modi was the Guest of Honour in the Golden Jubilee Celebration event.
  • ‘Mujib Barsho’ – Celebrations of Birth Centenary of the Father of Bangladesh –  Bangabandhu ‘Sheikh Mujibur Rahman’.
  • Celebration of 50 years of establishment of diplomatic relations between India & Bangladesh.

Joint Statement issued by Both Countries

The two countries issued a Joint Statement on the occasion of PM Narendra Modi’s visit to Bangladesh.

Gandhi Peace Prize 2020 to Mujibur Rahman

India conferred the Gandhi Peace Prize for the year 2020 on Sheikh Mujibur Rahman for his contribution towards the social, economic and political transformation of Bangladesh through non-violent and other Gandhian methods.

  • The award was presented to Sheikh Mujibur’s daughters Sheikh Hasina (PM of Bangladesh) & her younger sister Sheikh Rehana.
  • It is an annual award instituted by the Government of India since 1995, the 125th Birth Anniversary commemoration year of Mahatma Gandhi.

The signing of 5 MoUs

During the meeting, both countries signed 5 Memorandum of Understandings (MoUs) on key sectors like Disaster Management, Sports and Youth Affairs, Trade, Technology, Commerce, Information Technology.

  • MoU on Cooperation in the field of Disaster Management, Resilience and Mitigation
  • MoU between Bangladesh National Cadet Corps (BNCC) and the National Cadet Corps of India (INCC).
  • MoU on Establishment of a Framework of Cooperation in the Area of Trade Remedial Measures between Bangladesh and India.
  • Tripartite MoU on supply of ICT Equipment, Courseware & Reference Books and Training for Bangladesh-Bharat Digital Service and Employment Training (BDSET) Centre.
  • Tripartite MoU for Establishment of Sports Facilities at Rajshahi College Field, Bangladesh and its Surrounding Areas.

Launch of ‘Mitali Express’

Both leaders launched a new passenger train ‘Mitali Express’ connecting Dhaka- New Jalpaiguri (West Bengal). The train will run between Dhaka Cantonment & New Jalpaiguri via Chilahati-Haldibari (Indian side) Rail link.

  • The distance between Dhaka & Chilahati is 453 km and from Chilahati to New Jalpaiguri is 71 km.
  • It is the 3rd Passenger train between the 2 countries after Maitree Express (Dhaka-Kolkata) & Bandhan Express (Khulna-Kolkata).
  • The Four other rail links that connect the two countries are Petrapole (Indian side) – Benapole; Gede (West Bengal) – Darshana; Singhabad (West Bengal) –  Rohanpur; Radhikapur (West Bengal) – Birol

India, Bangladesh – Non-Tariff Barriers

Both countries highlighted the need for the removal of non-tariff barriers to enhance trade relations.

  • The two sides also stressed the need for predictability of trade policies, regulations & procedures.
  • They also agreed to greater cooperation in energy and connectivity & speedy conclusion of a study on a Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA).

Water Resources

i.PM Narendra Modi reiterated India’s commitment and efforts to conclude the Teesta Water-Sharing pact.

  • Teesta is a 414 Km river (originating at Tso Lamo, Himalayas, India) that flows through the Indian states of West Bengal, Sikkim before going to the Bay of Bengal through Bangladesh.
  • Efforts to share the Teesta water equally between the two countries have been going on since 1983.
  • In 2011, India & Bangladesh made an agreement by which India would get 42.5% of water & Bangladesh 37.5% of water during the lean season. The agreement was opposed by the West Bengal Government and hence it has been shelved.
  • India requested Bangladesh for early finalization of the draft of the interim agreement for sharing of water of Feni River, which was agreed by both sides in 2011.
  • The two leaders directed their respective Ministries of Water Resources to work for the early conclusion of the Framework of Interim Agreement on sharing of waters of 6 common rivers – Manu, Muhuri, Khowai, Gumti, Dharla & Dudhkumar.

India’s Credit Line to Bangladesh to cover Nuclear Projects 

India’s Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla stated that India’s 3rd Line of Credit to Bangladesh will go to Civil Nuclear Cooperation. India will be involved in the development of the transmission lines for the Rooppur Nuclear Power Plant in Bangladesh.

  • The value of these transmission lines will be worth over USD 1 Billion.
  • Rooppur Nuclear Power Plant is Bangladesh’s 1st Nuclear Power Plant.
  • It is the 1st initiative under the Indo-Russian deal to undertake atomic energy projects in Third World Countries
  • In 2018, a Tripartite MoU was signed at Moscow, Russia between Russia, Bangladesh & India for the Rooppur Nuclear Power Project.
  • In June 2018, Indian Infrastructure major, Hindustan Construction Company Ltd. (HCC) was given the contract for construction of Rooppur Nuclear Power Plant. It was the 1st time that any Indian Company was involved in any nuclear project out of India.

Presentation of Gold & Silver Coin:

  • Hasina presented a gold & silver coin released on the occasion of the birth centenary of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman to PM Modi

Other Key Events

  • Both leaders jointly inaugurated the Bangabandhu-Bapu Digital Exhibition in Dhaka.
  • It was decided to commemorate 6th December every year as Maitri Diwas. It is the day on which India recognized Bangladesh as a country in 1971.
  • India announced the establishment of the Bangabandhu Chair at the University of Delhi.
  • The government of India announced 1000 Shuborno Jayanti Scholarships for Bangladeshi Students for pursuing education/courses in India.
  • Bangladesh thanked India for giving 3.2 million doses of Oxford AstraZeneca Covishield vaccine made in India.
  • Announcement of linking the historic road between Mujibnagar and Nadia (West Bengal) and naming it as ‘Shadhinota Shorok’.
  • Release of India–Bangladesh Friendship Stamps to commemorate the 50th anniversary of establishment of bilateral diplomatic ties
  • Foundation stone laying ceremony for a memorial in the honour of the Martyrs of the Indian Armed Forces who sacrificed their lives during Liberation War of 1971 at Ashuganj, Brahmanbaria.
  • Announcement of linking the historic road between Mujibnagar and Nadia and naming it as Shadhinota Shorok.
  • PM Modi and Sheikh Hasina virtually laid the foundation stone for the development of infrastructure at the Rooppur nuclear power plant.

PM’s Invitation to 50 Entrepreneurs from Bangladesh

PM Modi invited 50 Young entrepreneurs from Bangladesh to visit India and present their ideas to Venture Capitalists.

PM Participates in National Day Programme

  • PM Modi participated in the National Day Programme which was held in National Parade Square, Tejgaon.
  • After the programme, PM Modi visited the mausoleum of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, becoming the first-ever foreign Head of State or Head of Government to pay homage at the grave of ‘Bangabandhu’ at Tungipara in Bangladesh.

Recent Related News:

i.On December 17, 2020, a virtual India-Bangladesh Summit 2020 was held between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Prime Minister of Bangladesh Sheikh Hasina which concluded with a Joint Statement.

ii.On September 29, 2020, India and Bangladesh held the 6th Joint Consultative Commission (JCC) meet through a virtual platform.

About Bangladesh:

Capital– Dhaka
Currency– Bangladeshi Taka