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India-Bangladesh Virtual Summit

  • 19 Dec 2020
  • 9 min read

Why in News

Recently, India and Bangladesh have held a virtual summit covering comprehensive discussions on all aspects of bilateral relations and exchanged views on regional and international issues.

  • Bangladesh also invited India for the celebration of 50th anniversary of Bangladesh’s Independence in 1971 and 50 years of India-Bangladesh diplomatic relations, to be held in March 2021.

Key Points

  • Signing of Bilateral Documents and Inauguration of Projects:
    • Sealed seven agreements to expand cooperation in diverse areas viz. hydrocarbons, elephant conservation, sanitation, and agriculture, and restored a cross-border rail link which was in operation till 1965.
    • Inaugurated a digital exhibition on Mahatma Gandhi and Bangladesh’s founder, Sheikh Mujibur Rehman.
  • Cooperation in Health Sector:
    • Reiterating the highest priority India attaches to Bangladesh under India’s Neighbourhood First policy, India assured that vaccines for Covid-19 would be made available to Bangladesh as and when produced in India.
    • India also offered collaboration in therapeutics and partnership in vaccine production.
    • Bangladesh appreciated India’s conducting capacity building courses for medical professionals in Bangla language.
  • Cultural Cooperation:
    • Jointly unveiled a commemorative postal stamp issued by the Government of India on the occasion of birth centenary of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.
    • India thanked Bangladesh for issuing a stamp in honour of Mahatma Gandhi on the occasion of his 150th birth anniversary celebrations.
    • Bangladesh requested India to consider Bangladesh’s proposal to name the historic road from Mujib Nagar to Nodia on Bangladesh-India border as "Shadhinota Shorok” commemorating the historic significance of the road during Bangladesh’s Liberation War.
  • Border Management and Security Cooperation:
    • Agreed to hold an early meeting of the Joint Boundary Conference to prepare a new set of strip maps with a view to finalizing the delineation of the boundaries.
    • It was agreed to carry out necessary work to convert the International Boundary along Kuhsiyara river into a fixed boundary.
      • Kuhsiyara river (known as Barak river in India) is one of the transboundary rivers between India-Bangladesh.
    • Bangladesh reiterated the request for 1.3 km Innocent Passage through river route along River Padma (main channel of Ganga in Bangladesh) near Rajshahi district (Bangladesh). India assured to consider the request.
    • Stressed on the full implementation of the ongoing Coordinated Border Management Plan.
    • Expressed satisfaction on efforts against smuggling of arms, narcotics and fake currency and to prevent trafficking, particularly of women and children.
    • Directed officials to expeditiously conclude the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in the area of disaster management cooperation as both countries are prone to frequent natural disasters.
    • Bangladesh requested for early implementation of India’s commitment to remove remaining restrictions on entry/exit from land ports in India for Bangladeshis travelling on valid documents in a phased manner.
  • Trade Partnership for Growth:
    • Bangladesh has appreciated the Duty-Free and Quota Free access given to Bangladeshi exports to India under South Asian Free Trade Area (SAFTA) since 2011.
    • Emphasized on addressing issues of non-tariff barriers and trade facilitation including port restrictions, procedural bottlenecks and quarantine restrictions so that both countries can take full advantage of SAFTA flexibility.
    • Directed the officials to expeditiously conclude the ongoing joint study on the prospects of entering into a bilateral Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA).
    • Welcomed the first meeting of the India-Bangladesh Textile Industry Forum and directed the officials to conclude the ongoing negotiations on various MoUs on increased linkages and collaboration in the textile sector.
  • Connectivity for Prosperity:
    • Jointly inaugurated the newly restored railway link between Haldibari (India) and Chilahati (Bangladesh) and noted that this rail link will further strengthen trade and people to people ties between the two sides.
    • Welcomed the signing of the second addendum to the Protocol on Inland Water Transit and Trade (PIWTT).
    • Agreed to an early operationalization of the Bangladesh-Bhutan-India-Nepal (BBIN) initiative Motor Vehicles Agreement through the expeditious signing of the Enabling MoU for Bangladesh, India and Nepal to commence the movement of goods and passengers, with provision for Bhutan to join at a later date.
    • Bangladesh expressed keen interest in the ongoing India Myanmar Thailand trilateral highway project and sought the support of India for enabling Bangladesh to connect with this project.
    • Satisfaction on commencement of a temporary Air Travel Bubble to facilitate the urgent requirements of travellers on both sides.
  • Cooperation in Water Resources, Power and Energy:
    • Bangladesh highlighted the need for early signing of an interim agreement for sharing of the Teesta waters, as agreed upon by both the governments in 2011.
    • Underscored the need for early conclusion of Framework of Interim Agreement on sharing of waters of six joint rivers, namely, Manu, Muhuri, Khowai, Gumti, Dharla and Dudhkumar.
    • Recalled the positive contribution of the Joint Rivers Commission (JRC) and looked forward to the next round of Secretarial level JRC meeting at the earliest.
    • Agreed to expedite implementation of projects including India-Bangladesh Friendship Pipeline, Maitree Super Thermal Power Project as well as other projects.
    • Welcomed the signing of the Framework of Understanding on Cooperation in the Hydrocarbon Sector which would further augment energy linkages by streamlining investments, technology transfer, joint studies, training and promoting hydrocarbon connectivity.
    • Agreed to enhance cooperation in energy efficiency and clean energy, including in biofuels.
  • Forcibly Displaced Persons from the Rakhine State of Myanmar (Rohingya):
    • India appreciated the generosity of Bangladesh in sheltering and providing humanitarian assistance to the 1.1 million forcibly displaced persons from the Rakhine State of Myanmar, in the Rohingya Crisis.
  • Partners in the Region and the World:

Source: PIB

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