At a time when bilateral relations with neighbours including China, Pakistan and Nepal have deteriorated, India on Thursday signed seven agreements with Bangladesh. The agreements were signed during a virtual summit attended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.
The agreements aim to increase cooperation between the two countries in various fields including textiles, agriculture and hydrocarbons. This apart, the restored Chilahati-Haldibari railway link that functioned till 1965 was inaugurated virtually by the two leaders.
The inauguration of the Chilahati-Haldibari rail link is expected to enhance connectivity to Assam and West Bengal from Bangladesh. It was part of the broad gauge main route from Kolkata to Siliguri till 1965. Initially, the rail link will facilitate the movement of goods cargo. Passenger movement will also commence on the development of infrastructure on both sides.
Bangladesh key friend of India
PM Modi and Hasina together inaugurated a digital exhibition on Bangladesh’s founder Mujibur Rahman and Mahatma Gandhi in an effort to celebrate the life and legacies of the two iconic leaders.
In his initial remarks, Modi said Bangladesh is a key pillar of India’s “Neighbourhood First” policy and it has been a key priority for him to strengthen ties between the two countries.
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“We feel proud to celebrate ‘Bijoy Dibosh’ with you to mark Bangladesh’s historic victory over anti-liberation forces,” he said, adding cooperation between India and Bangladesh has been good notwithstanding the coronavirus pandemic.
The ties between India and Bangladesh have witnessed a upswing in the last few years. Both sides have scaled up trade and economic engagement besides implementing a number of connectivity and infrastructure projects.
In her statement, Hasina described India as a “true friend”. She also praised PM Modi for the way he handled the coronavirus pandemic in the country.
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