Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Thursday said India's northeastern states such as Assam and Tripura can use the Chattogram seaport by strengthening the connectivity between the two neighbouring countries.
"If the connectivity is increased, Indian northeastern states such as Assam and Tripura can have access to the seaport in Chattogram," she said when Indian External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar paid a courtesy call on her at her official Ganabhaban residence in Dhaka Thursday afternoon.
PM Sheikh Hasina's Press Secretary Ihsanul Karim briefed reporters after the meeting.
During the meeting Sheikh Hasina said initiative had been taken to resume various cross-border routes between Bangladesh and India that were stopped in 1965, stressing the need for enhancing connectivity between the two countries for mutual benefits, Ihsanul said. Both sides expressed happiness at the state of the existing bilateral relations between the two countries, he added.
Hasina said high-level visits between the two countries give impetus to carry forward the relations.
Jaishankar said the bilateral issues are being reviewed and it's progressing well. He also conveyed the invitation of PM Modi to the Bangladesh premier to visit India at the time of her convenience.
Besides, different issues including defence cooperation, water sharing of Kushiara and Feni rivers, current Covid situation and impacts of the Russia-Ukraine war on the global economy came up for the discussion.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said the Covid-19 situation is well in Bangladesh while Jaishankar said the situation in India is getting back to normalcy.
After meeting with the prime minister, the Indian external affairs minister met foreign minister AK Abdul Momen at the Foreign Service academy. Both of them then briefed journalists.
"In this period, despite the challenges of covid-19 pandemic, we have remained regularly in touch. We have made good progress in our bilateral relations," S Jaishankar said.
"My visit today is aimed at continuing the progress and deepening our engagement and it is keeping with the strength and spirit of our bilateral ties.
"In view of our strong people to people connect, our connectivity is today back to pre-Covid level. We are looking to resume cross border bus and railway services," he added.
"This also is a matter of satisfaction for us that the trade, disbursement of loan and bilateral projects, travel services, and investment are at new heights and they have recovered momentum that was lost during the pandemic," he added.
He hoped to see early commissioning of many projects including those in the power and energy sector relating to connectivity so that all that have been done in the last two years can be taken forward.
About the meeting with PM Sheikh Hasina, he said, "I have conveyed to her the personal greetings and best wishes of PM Modi. And also conveyed that we look forward to her visit to India at the time of her convenience."
"We discussed number of issues, and reviewed bilateral ties as well as regional and global issues.
Regarding the meeting with Momen, he said, "We are looking forward to welcome him to the 7th round of the joint consultative commission. This meeting will provide a good opportunity to lay the ground for the next level of our relationship which we hope would be underlined when the prime minister visits India."
He mentioned that India also looks forward to a stronger sub-regional cooperation in connectivity and in the energy sector, particularly the hydro power domain that offers opportunities for mutually beneficial cooperation between India and Bangladesh as well as in the region.
Momen recalled that the two countries had resolved many of the outstanding issues in the spirit of friendship and cooperation and expressed hope that all outstanding issues including the early signing of the Teesta Water Sharing Treaty may be concluded at an early date.
Jaishankar emphasised promoting trade, commerce and connectivity especially in the light of supply chain disruption resulting from covid-19 restrictions and recent conflict in Ukraine.
He assured Bangladesh of India's cooperation in resolving some of the concerns of Bangladesh including the early repatriation of forcibly displaced Myanmar nationals to their country of their origin.
Senior Foreign Secretary Masud Bin Momen, Senior Secretary to the PMO Md Tofazzel Hossain Miah, and Indian High Commissioner to Bangladesh Vikram Kumar Doraiswami were present during Jaishankar's meeting with Sheikh Hasina.
Indian External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar arrived in Dhaka Thiursday afternoon.