India and Bangladesh to boost slew of projects at Sep 29 foreign ministers level meet

Foreign ministers of both the countries will lead their respective delegations in the meeting to be held on September 29 through virtual platform. Another key focus of the JCC this time will be the finalisation of the programmes for the Mujib Bir...

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NEW DELHI: India-backed LoC projects besides connectivity initiatives and energy pipelines will be the key agenda items during the September 29 Joint Consultative Commission (JCC) between Delhi and Dhaka.

Foreign ministers of both the countries will lead their respective delegations in the meeting to be held on September 29 through virtual platform.

Another key focus of the JCC this time will be the finalisation of the programmes for the Mujib Birth Centenary and for the 50th anniversary of creation of Bangladesh.

The issue of stalled Joint River Commission meeting will also come up for discussion in the meeting. He expressed the hope that the two ministers will give a guideline for this so that the JRC meeting can be held soon.

The meeting will also focus on the quick implementation of the projects taken up under the Indian Line of Credit.

There is also a proposal for creating a mechanism so that the progress of the LoC projects can be reviewed by a secretary-level body. This will also be discussed in the meeting.

India and Bangladesh have decided to explore new areas of cooperation including latest technologies, disaster management, artificial intelligence, ecology and conservation and greater youth to youth engagement to give further momentum to their burgeoning ties. In keeping with India’s Neighbourhood First Policy Bangladesh will also be accorded priority in the areas of vaccines and therapeutics.

These among other issues of mutual benefit were discussed when Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla visited Dhaka last month.

India’s ongoing projects in Bangladesh are aimed at improving infrastructure in sectors like ports, power, railways and roads making the investment environment all the more conductive in Bangladesh. India is also developing Indian Economic Zones in Mirasarai and Mongla. Next year as both countries celebrate the 50th anniversary of diplomatic ties, some strategic projects will get inaugurated like the Akhaura -Agartala rail link and Maitree power project.

India through its High Impact Community Development Projects ( HICDP) has also undertaken over 40 social economic projects in areas relating to sanitation, waste management, restoration, health etc. under grant-in-aid.

On the trade front, Bangladesh’s exports to India have crossed 1 billion making India the second country in Asia after Japan where its exports have crossed a billion mark. Currently, India trades more with Bangladesh than any other South Asian neighbour. Contours of a comprehensive economic partnership agreement are being discussed between the two sides, sources informed.

Cooperation in security has remained a vital component of bilateral engagement. Both sides have a robust ongoing cooperation in security matters and counter terrorism and have also intensified their exchanges and sharing of information in the area in the area of anti-radicalization and counterterrorism.

There has also been good cooperation in power and energy. India’s supply of 1160 MW of power at reasonable cost is over 9 % of the maximum power demand in Bangladesh. India is also constructing a 1320 MW powerplant plant in Khulna under its concessional financing scheme.

The cooperation in the area of nuclear energy has also seen significant progress. India is offering capacity building programmes or the Bangladesh nuclear scientists.

In view of the close people to people ties, both sides are in active discussion on commencing air bubble flights soon. This will help the business and the student community on the two sides and will also facilitate the travel of people seeking medical assistance. Last year alone , 1.6 million visas were issued to the Bangladeshi nationals, making our visa operations largest in Bangladesh .

Both sides recognize that increasing connectivity through air, water, rail, road offers mutually beneficial opportunities for augmenting economic cooperation between Bangladesh and India particularly with the North Eastern States of India .Connectivity received a big boost when for the first time ever Indian cargo from Kolkata to Agartala moved via the Chattogram Port. India also recently handed over 10 locomotives to Bangladesh to strengthen its freight and passenger connectivity.

The signing of a second addendum to the Protocol on Inland Water Trade& and Transit has contributed to the future strengthening of the regional connectivity comprising hinterland states of East India with Bangladesh and the North East India. The commencement of parcel and container train services between the two countries have helped in a cheaper, more efficient and friendly mode of trade between the two sides.
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