Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina today said the people of both countries will be benefited from the cooperation in all the areas identified during her India visit and the decisions taken to solve the existing bilateral problems.
"I think that my visit, after a long break of three years due to the Covid pandemic, has opened a new horizon in Bangladesh-India relations. All aspects of Bangladesh-India relations were discussed during my visit," said the Prime Minister in her written speech ahead of the question-answer session at her post-India visit press conference here today.
Sheikh Hasina said both the counties highlighted sincerity and pledge to continue cooperation between the two countries on the basis of equality and respect as good neighbours.
She said Teesta water sharing, cessation of border killings, trade expansion, withdrawal of anti-dumping duty on Bangladesh jute products, repatriation of the Rohingyas, import of electricity from Nepal and Bhutan via India, were discussed.
"After all, in the changed world situation, this visit would accelerate both the countries to move forward together in a new way. I firmly believe that this cooperation will continue for the welfare of the people of both countries and the South Asia, including Bangladesh and India, will become a prosperous region soon," added the Prime Minister.
She said the people of both countries will be benefited from the cooperation in all the areas identified during this visit and the decisions taken to solve the existing problems.
During the visit, the sides signed seven Memorandum of Understandings (MoUs) including withdrawal of 153 cusec of water from Kushiar river to Bangladesh under Surma-Kushiara project, Scientific and Technological Cooperation between Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), she said, adding that MoUs were also signed between India and Bangladesh Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (BCSIR), MoU between the National Judicial Academy in Bhopal, India and the Supreme Court of Bangladesh, MoU between the Ministry of Railways (Railway Board), Government of India and the Ministry of Railways, Government of Bangladesh on Training of Bangladesh Railway Personnel in India, MoU between the Ministry of Railways (Railway Board), Government of India and the Ministry of Railways, Government of Bangladesh on Collaboration in IT systems such as FOIS and other IT Applications for Bangladesh Railway, between the Indian state-run television 'Prasar Bharti' and Bangladesh Television (BTV) on Cooperation in Broadcasting and MoU on Cooperation in the Areas of Space Technology between BTCL and NSIL.
Sheikh Hasina said as per the MoU, Bangladesh will receive 153 cusecs of water under the Surma-Kushiara project from the common river Kushiara and as a result, 5,000 hectares of land will get irrigation facilities through Rahimpur Link Canal.
Apart from this, the premier said, an agreement has been made on cooperation in the fields of environment, climate change, cyber security, space technology, green economy, cultural and people-to-people communication, she added.
"We agreed to complete the construction work of the second gate proposed by India at the Petrapol- Benapole border as soon as possible to expand trade. A delegation from Bangladesh will soon visit India to participate in the start-up fair," she added.
In this context, she said some more MoUs are under discussion in the IT sector, which we expect to be finalized soon. If these MoUs are signed, I think Bangladesh will march forward another step towards achieving "Digital Bangladesh".
Prime Minister highlighted some information about the energy cooperation between India and Bangladesh and said that fuel (diesel) from Numaligarh Refinery Limited located in Siliguri, India, to Parbatipur in Dinajpur district of Bangladesh will be imported through a pipeline. A MoU was signed between Bangladesh and India on April 9, 2018 under the "India-Bangladesh Friendship Pipeline Construction Project", she added.
"Under this project, a total of 131.57 km (126.57 km in the Bangladesh part and 5 km in the Indian part) pipeline is being constructed with the finance of the Government of India. Out of the 126.50 km of pipelines in the Bangladesh part, 125 km pipeline has been completed," she said, adding that due to construction of the pipeline, fuel transportation cost will be saved and diesel could be imported from India easily, quickly and in adverse conditions to meet the needs of northern parts of the country;
She said at present, 60,000-80,000 metric tonnes of diesel is imported from India annually through Railway Wagon and once the construction of the pipeline is completed, it will be possible to import about 10 lakh metric tonnes of diesel from India annually.
Currently, the storage capacity in Parbatipur is 15,000 metric tonnes and under the ongoing project, the storage capacity will increase by 28,800 metric tonnes, she said, adding that on August 28, 2022 India's state-owned company has been enlisted as a supplier of fuel oil on G-to-G basis with an aim to diversify the import source of fuel.
About LNG import, the premier said considering the huge gas demand in the South-Western part of the country, particularly in Khulna area, the government is considering importing Regasified LNG (RLNG) from India to Bangladesh through a cross-border pipeline and to this end, against the proposals of Indian Oil Corporation Ltd (IOCL) and H-Energy, Patrobangla signed respective Non-binding MoU with both the agencies.
At present, works continue to prepare Gas Supply Agreement (GSA) on RLNG import to be signed between Patrobangla and both the institutions.
Offshore gas exploration she said for shallow sea blocks SS-04 and SS-09, Patrobangla has two Production Supply Contracts (PSC) with ONGC Videsh Limited I Oil India Limited and under those, two exploratory wells are being drilled in both the blocks (Titli-1 and Maitri-1).
During the visit, the premier met the newly appointed President of India Mrs Draupadi Murmu and the Indian President put emphasis on further strengthening the relations between the two countries. Besides, the Bangladesh premier met the newly appointed Vice President of India, Jagdeep Dhankhar.
During the visit Indian Minister for External Affairs S Jaishankar met Bangladesh Prime Minister where the Indian Foreign Minister expressed that cooperation should be increased between the two countries to address future crises in context of the COVID-19 pandemic.
North Eastern Development Minister of India G Kishan Reddy also met Bangladesh premier and stressed trade, people-to-people contacts and connectivity between India's northeast region and Bangladesh.
A business event was held with the business representatives from Bangladesh and India.
Through the business event, the image of Bangladesh's business-friendly environment was presented to Indian businessmen and they were invited to invest in Bangladesh.
Bangladesh Prime Minister distributed "Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman Student Scholarship" among the family members of the Indian soldiers who were martyred or injured in the Great Liberation War of Bangladesh. Scholarships were awarded at two levels – Higher Secondary and Graduate/Post Graduate. Through the scholarship, the great sacrifice of Indian soldiers in the Great Liberation War of Bangladesh was remembered with due respect. This would strengthen the friendly relations between the two countries.
During the visit, Sheikh Hasina visited the Dargah of Hazrat Nizamuddin Aulia in Delhi and the Dargah of Hazrat Khwaja Gharibea Nawaz Moinuddin Chisti (RA) in Ajmer, and prayed to the great Rabbul Alameen for the welfare of the country and nation.
"India is our closest neighbour and friendly country. Our relationship with India is historic. Our relations have been deepened due to similarities of language and culture. Apart from this, the support during the Liberation War and cooperation after the independence have reached this friendship at a special level," the Prime Minister Concluded.