National, Front Page

Sheikh Hasina's India visit ‘extremely successful’: Doraiswami

Published : 14 Sep 2022 10:07 PM | Updated : 14 Sep 2022 10:07 PM

Outgoing Indian High Commissioner Vikram Kumar Doraiswami on Wednesday termed Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's just-concluded visit to New Delhi “extremely successful” and said there were “very strong deliverables” in all areas of cooperation including trade, connectivity, and water sharing.

He said the focus was now to ensure that “the relationship goes forward with more trade, more cooperation, and development including infrastructural development.

He was interacting with the journalists at the Old India House before his farewell call on President Md Abdul Hamid.

Pranay Kumar Verma, currently Indian ambassador in Vietnam, will succeed Doraiswami soon in Dhaka as he will take charge of the UK mission in London.

During the less than two years of a tour of duty of Doraiswami in Dhaka, both the President and Prime Minister of India visited Bangladesh. Prime Minister Hasina concluded her India visit on September 8.

The Joint River Commission (JRC) meeting also resumed last month after 12 years of gap. Both leaders also agreed to share the water of the Kushiyara River during Sheikh Hasina’s visit.

The outgoing High Commissioner credited this to the leaders of the two neighbors and said that he was “very happy” that the leaders could agree on that.

 “This is a good thing. From the public perspective this is a consequential decision,” he said.

 The High Commissioner also shared some “deliverables” during the visit and said both leaders agreed to address all matters related to water in a “free, frank and cooperative spirit”.

 During the bilateral talks, both leaders emphasised greater collaboration in the spirit of friendship and partnership for the prosperity and development of the region.

They took key decisions to enhance intra-Bangladesh Rail connectivity including an appreciation for ongoing bilateral initiatives, such as conversion to dual-gauge of Tongi-Akhaura line, supply of railway rolling stock to Bangladesh Railway, capacity building for the personnel of Bangladesh Railway in reputed training institutes of Indian Railways, and sharing of IT solutions for improved services of Bangladesh Railway.

New initiatives to enhance Bangladesh-India Rail connectivity include the Kaunia-Lalmonirhat-Mogalghat-New Gitaldaha link, establishing a link between Hili and Birampur, upgradation of track and signaling systems and railway stations along the Benapole-Jessore line, link restoration between Burimari and Changrabandha and construction of a container depot at Sirajganj, among others.

Importantly, for these forward-looking projects, Bangladesh and India have agreed to explore funding through multiple financial instruments under the bilateral development cooperation framework.

Safeguarding from global economic shocks, they agreed to take a special G-2-G arrangement for a predictable supply of essential food commodities such as rice, wheat, sugar, onion, ginger, and garlic from India to Bangladesh. The process is expected to be worked out between both countries.

Expediting completion of developmental works within 150 yards of the International Border, including critical immigration and trade-related infrastructure on the various border crossings along the over 4,000-km long border to facilitate smooth movement of people and goods.

For the maintenance of a tranquil and crime-free border, completion of fencing along the unfenced patches of the entire border, beginning with the Tripura Sector, was agreed upon between both leaders.

Stepped-up efforts by border guarding forces have helped decrease the number of deaths at the border. Greater cooperation against the smuggling of arms, narcotics, and fake currency and to prevent trafficking, particularly of women and children was also appreciated.

They also committed to jointly fight against terrorism.  Both Leaders reiterated their strong commitment to eliminating terrorism in all its forms and manifestations. Further strengthening cooperation to counter and prevent the spread of terrorism, violent extremism, and radicalisation in the region and beyond was agreed upon.

 The High Commissioner said India invited Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina for the G-20 meeting next year that New Delhi will host.

 “It is not just an invitation for the Summit level process. It is an invitation for the totality of the G20 meetings during India’s chairmanship,” he said.

 “It’s a big deal. Essentially, all the guest countries including Bangladesh will have an opportunity to be part of the larger process of negotiating outcomes for the totality of G20.”