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Joint Statement on the occassion of the visit of the PM of India to Bangladesh

September 07, 2011

  • At the invitation of the Prime Minister of the People's Republic of Bangladesh, Sheikh Hasina, the Prime Minister of the Republic of India, Dr. Manmohan Singh, paid a State visit to Bangladesh from 6-7 September 2011. He was accompanied by Smt. Gursharan Kaur.
  • During the visit, the Prime Minister of India called on H.E. Md. Zillur Rahman, Hon’ble President of Bangladesh. Foreign Minister Dr. Dipu Moni called on the Prime Minister of India. The Leader of the Opposition Begum Khaleda Zia, and President of Jatiya Party Mr. H.M. Ershad also called on the Prime Minister of India. The meetings and exchanges were marked by warmth and cordiality on both sides.
  • The Prime Minister of India paid tribute and respect to the memory of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman at Bangabandhu Museum in Dhaka. He laid a wreath at the National Martyr’s Mausoleum at Savar as a mark of respect to the memory and contribution of the great freedom fighters of Bangladesh.
  • The official talks between Bangladesh and India were held on 6 September 2011 in an extremely warm, cordial and friendly atmosphere reflecting the excellent bilateral relations and friendship that exist between the two countries. The two Prime Ministers led their respective sides. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina hosted a banquet in the honour of Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh and the accompanying delegation.
  • During the official talks, the Prime Minister of India was assisted by External Affairs Minister Shri S M Krishna, Chief Minister of Assam Shri Tarun Gogoi, Chief Minister of Meghalaya Dr. Mukul Sangma, Chief Minister of Mizoram Shri Lal Thanhawla, Chief Minister of Tripura Shri Manik Sarkar, National Security Advisor Shri Shivshankar Menon, Foreign Secretary Shri Ranjan Mathai, High Commissioner of India to Bangladesh Shri Rajeet Mitter, Secretary Ministry of Water Resources Shri Dhruv Vijai Singh and other senior officials.
  • The Prime Minister of Bangladesh was assisted by Foreign Minister Dr. Dipu Moni, Finance Minister Mr. A.M.A. Muhith, Home Minister Advocate Sahara Khatun, Minister for Land Mr. Rezaul Karim Hira, Water Resources Minister Mr. Ramesh Chandra Sen, Commerce Minister Mr. Faruk Khan, Advisor for Economic Affairs Dr. Moshiur Rahman, Advisor for Energy Dr. Tawfique-e-Illahi Chowdhury, Advisor for International Affairs Dr. Gowher Rizvi, High Commissioner of Bangladesh to India Mr. Tariq A. Karim, Ambassador-at-Large M. Ziauddin, Principal Secretary Mr. Abdul Karim, Foreign Secretary Mr. Mijarul Quayes and other senior officials.
  • During the talks, the two Prime Ministers reiterated the shared faith in and commitment to the values of secularism, democracy and social justice. They recognised that the destinies of the peoples of the two countries were interlinked in their search for peace, prosperity and stability.
  • Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh lauded the steps taken by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina towards strengthening democracy and promoting peace, security and stability in the region. He added that Bangladesh is a high growth economy with promising prospects.
  • The Prime Minister of India, on behalf of the Government and people of India, conveyed appreciation to the Government of Bangladesh for conferring the Bangladesh Swadhinata Sammanona (Bangladesh Freedom Honour), the highest Award of Bangladesh for foreign nationals, on former Prime Minister of India, Smt. Indira Gandhi, for her extraordinary contribution to the historic Liberation War of Bangladesh.
  • The two Prime Ministers noted that India and Bangladesh have entered a new phase in bilateral relations with a pragmatic and practical approach based on sovereignty, equality, friendship, trust and understanding for the mutual benefit of their peoples and collective prosperity of the region.
  • They recalled the landmark visit of H.E. Sheikh Hasina to India in January 2010 and noted that, during the visit, the two sides had reached agreement on a set of initiatives that had elevated the bilateral relations to new heights. The two Prime Ministers noted with satisfaction the recent exchange of high level visits and agreed that these exchanges had helped reach understanding on many of the issues under discussion. They agreed to encourage more such high level interactions between the two sides.
  • They also welcomed the regular holding of institutional mechanisms for promoting bilateral relations, such as Foreign Office Consultations, Commerce Secretary level talks, Joint River Commission meetings, Home Secretary level talks, BGB-BSF DG level border conferences as well as meetings of the Joint Working Groups on various issues.
  • In their desire for the common good, they recognized the need to exploit the synergies between the two countries for further deepening of cooperation and widening of the relationship into newer areas and towards that end, agreed on a number of measures.
  • The two sides signed the following historic accords:

    1. Framework Agreement on Cooperation for Development
    2. Protocol to the Agreement Concerning the Demarcation of the Land Boundary between India and Bangladesh and Related Matters
  • The following bilateral documents were also signed during the visit:

    1. Addendum to the MoU between India and Bangladesh to Facilitate Overland Transit Traffic between Bangladesh and Nepal
    2. Memorandum of Understanding on Renewable Energy Cooperation
    3. Memorandum of Understanding on Conservation of the Sundarban
    4. Protocol on Conservation of the Royal Bengal Tiger of the Sunderban
    5. Memorandum of Understanding on Cooperation in the field of Fisheries
    6. Memorandum of Understanding on Mutual Broadcast of Television Programmes
    7. Memorandum of Understanding between Jawaharlal Nehru University and Dhaka University
    8. Memorandum of Understanding on Academic Cooperation between National Institute of Fashion Technology (NIFT), India and BGMEA Institute of Fashion and Technology (BIFT), Bangladesh.
  • Both sides welcomed the conclusion of the comprehensive "Framework Agreement on Cooperation for Development" that outlines the shared vision for durable and long-term cooperation to achieve mutual peace, prosperity and stability.
  • Both sides decided to establish a Joint Commission led by the Ministers of Foreign/External Affairs to jointly coordinate and oversee implementation of initiatives as well as to explore newer avenues for cooperation, including progress of activities under the Framework Agreement.
  • The two Prime Ministers welcomed that there has been progress on the principles and modalities of interim agreements on sharing of waters of Teesta and Feni Rivers on fair and equitable basis. They directed the concerned officials to work towards concluding the agreements at the earliest.
  • The Prime Ministers noted that the Joint Rivers Commission (JRC), Secretary and technical level meetings were discussing various aspects relating to sharing of waters of the Manu, Muhuri, Khowai, Gumti, Dharla and Dudhkumar rivers.
  • The two Prime Ministers noted with satisfaction that the following decisions flowing from the Joint Communiqué of January 2010 had been implemented:

    1. Dredging of the river Ichhamati along the common reach between Angrail and Kalanchi bridges has been completed;
    2. The river bank protection works along Mahananda, Karatoa, Nagar, Kulik, Atrai, Dharla, Punarbhaba, Feni, Khowai, Surma etc. are being carried out in phases.
  • The Prime Minister of India reiterated the assurance that India would not take steps on the Tipaimukh project that would adversely impact Bangladesh.
  • The Prime Ministers expressed satisfaction at the level of cooperation between the two countries on security related issues and reaffirmed their unequivocal and uncompromising position against terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, including insurgency. They reiterated the assurance that their respective territories would not be allowed for any activity inimical to the other and by any quarter.
  • They noted with satisfaction the signing of the Coordinated Border Management Plan during the visit of the Home Minister of India to Bangladesh in July 2011. They expressed confidence that it would enhance cooperation between the border guarding forces of the two countries, and enable them to manage the identified vulnerable areas with a view to preventing criminal activities, illegal movement, acts of violence and loss of lives along the border areas. The Prime Ministers directed the concerned agencies to implement the Plan immediately. They welcomed the decision to henceforth hold annual consultations at the level of Home Ministers.
  • The two Prime Ministers underscored the need to conclude an Extradition Treaty between the two countries expeditiously to complete the legal framework for bilateral security cooperation while expressing satisfaction that the Agreement on Mutual Legal Assistance on Criminal Matters, Agreement on the Transfer of Sentenced Persons and Agreement on Combating International Terrorism, Organised Crime and Illicit Drug Trafficking, signed in January 2010, were now in force following their ratification.
  • The Prime Ministers expressed deep satisfaction at the conclusion of the Protocol to the 1974 Land Boundary Agreement which paves the way for settlement of the long pending land boundary issues including the undemarcated areas, territories under adverse possession and exchange of enclaves. The historic agreement, which is based on ground realities, would further contribute to amity and harmony in border areas and create a conducive environment for enhanced bilateral cooperation. The two Prime Ministers also expressed satisfaction at the signing of strip maps by the Plenipotentiaries. They resolved to complete the ratification process and implement the Agreement expeditiously.
  • Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina expressed deep appreciation of the Government of Bangladesh for facilitating 24-hour unfettered access to Bangladesh nationals through the Tin Bigha Corridor. She noted that the fulfillment of the long pending promise would have a significantly positive impact on the lives of the people of Angarpota-Dahagram.
  • The Prime Ministers agreed to promote trade, investment and economic cooperation in a sustainable manner and facilitate trade by road, rail, inland waterways, shipping and air. Both sides underscored the need to increase trade volumes and address trade imbalance. Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh announced the decision of the Government of India to remove all forty six textile lines which are of interest to Bangladesh from India’s Negative List for LDCs under the provisions of SAFTA, thereby reducing the applicable duty rate to zero with immediate effect. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina conveyed appreciation for this major step on improved market access extended to Bangladesh aimed at reducing the existing trade imbalance.
  • The Prime Ministers underscored the importance of harmonization of standards and mutual recognition of certificates for promoting bilateral trade and expressed appreciation for efforts being taken towards this end. The Prime Minister of Bangladesh thanked the Indian side for undertaking the upgradation of laboratories of the BSTI and for training of the Bangladesh Standards Testing Institute (BSTI) personnel in India. It was agreed that a bilateral cooperation agreement between the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) and the Bangladesh Standards Testing Institute (BSTI) would be concluded at an early date.
  • Recognizing the need to address factors including non tariff and para tariff barriers and port restrictions that hamper the natural growth of bilateral trade, the Prime Ministers directed concerned officials to identify and remove all barriers to unfettered bilateral trade.
  • The two Prime Ministers welcomed the opening of Banglabandha-Fulbari Land Port for bilateral trade between Bangladesh and India. They also expressed satisfaction at the Indian initiative to develop seven Integrated Check Posts (ICPs), and noted that this would facilitate trade between the two countries. They directed the concerned officials to hold the meetings of the Sub-Group on Infrastructure so that necessary infrastructure could be developed at the identified Land Ports / Land Custom Stations (LCS) on both sides expeditiously.
  • The two Prime Ministers welcomed the inauguration of the border haat in Baliamari (Kurigram)-Kalaichar (West Garo Hills) and the proposed inauguration in Balat (East Khasi Hills)-Dalora (Sunamganj) as a fulfillment of the long standing demand of the local people of the area. They noted that the resulting economic activity would contribute to the economic upliftment of the people of the area surrounding the border haats. Both sides agreed to open new border haats at mutually agreed locations.
  • Welcoming the exchange of Instruments of Ratification of the Bilateral Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement, the two Prime Ministers reiterated their call for increasing investments including joint ventures in each other’s country. They underscored the role of the private sector as very important in bringing qualitative and quantitative change in the development process. The Indian Prime Minister appreciated the announcement of the Bangladesh Prime Minister regarding the establishment of a Special Economic Zone for Indian investments.
  • Both sides agreed to examine the establishment of new land ports / LCS / immigration points to facilitate trade and movement of people.
  • The two Prime Ministers noted that both sides had already signed the Standard Operating Procedures allowing movement of trucks carrying goods from Nepal and Bhutan to Land Customs Stations in Bangladesh. It was agreed to work towards concluding Motor Vehicles Agreement for regulation of Passenger and Cargo traffic.
  • Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh thanked the government of Bangladesh for allowing passage of ODC cargo for the Palatana power project in Tripura.
  • The Prime Ministers noted with satisfaction the operationalisation of Ashuganj and Silghat as additional Ports of Call under the bilateral Inland Water Transit and Trade Protocol. He also expressed his appreciation for the successful commencement of trial run of the bulk cargo for Tripura using multi-modal facilities through Ashuganj port. It was agreed that the construction of an Inland Container Terminal at Ashuganj would be expedited and pending that, the port could be used for movement of bulk cargo immediately as far as practicable.
  • Both sides agreed to expedite works for enabling night navigation facilities on the Protocol routes. They agreed to allow movement of containerized cargo by rail and water and to work towards its early operationlisation.
  • Both the Prime Ministers directed that necessary steps be taken to expedite construction of a bridge over river Feni as per the alignment already agreed between the two sides.
  • The Prime Ministers directed the concerned officials that the MoU regarding development of railway infrastructure at the border point between Agartala and Akhaura should be concluded and the execution of rail line commenced at the earliest.
  • Bangladesh Prime Minister expressed her appreciation to the Indian Prime Minister for amendment of the MoU between the Bangladesh and Indian Railways allowing Rohanpur-Singabad as an additional route for both bulk and container cargo for Nepalese rail transit traffic. Bangladesh side also appreciated the assistance from India for the movement of fertilizers from Bangladesh to Nepal by rail route. They also agreed to re-establish rail connections between Chilahati-Haldibari and Kulaura-Mahishashan in the spirit of encouraging revival of old linkages and transport routes between the two countries.
  • The Prime Ministers directed that necessary formalities for the use of Chittagong and Mongla seaports for movement of goods to and from India through water, rail and road should be completed urgently.
  • Both the Prime Ministers noted that road, rail and waterways were building blocks to an inter-dependent and mutually beneficial relationship among the countries of the region. The establishment of physical infrastructure would promote exchange of goods and traffic, and lead to the connectivity of services, information, ideas, culture and people.
  • The two sides welcomed the signing of the MoU for cooperation in the Renewable Energy sector between the two countries, noting that cooperation in this sector was essential to meet the growing energy demands of the two countries and to supplement the conventional sources.
  • The two Prime Ministers urged expeditious conclusion of Power Purchase Agreement between BPDB and NTPC for purchase of 250MW power from India by Bangladesh. It was agreed that Bangladesh would procure the additional 250MW of power from the open market in India utilizing the full capacity of the power transmission line being established through inter-grid connectivity at Bheramara and Behrampur.
  • The two Prime Ministers noted that BPDB and NTPC were working towards concluding a Joint Venture Agreement for setting up of 1320MW coal based power plant in Bagerhat. They directed the concerned officials to complete all formalities for operationalising the project expeditiously. They also directed the concerned officials to undertake necessary steps for conducting feasibility reports for the setting up of a similar 1320MW coal based power plant at a suitable location in Chittagong.
  • Both the Prime Ministers agreed to promote and support joint research projects and exchange of scientific personnel. In this context, the Prime Minister of India conveyed that India would invite from Bangladesh eminent scientists and researchers to participate in the Indian National Science Congress, and school children to participate in the Annual National Children Science Congress.
  • The two Prime Ministers expressed satisfaction at the programmes orgainsed for the joint celebration to commemorate the 150th birth anniversary of Rabindranath Tagore. They directed officials of both sides to remain engaged in the joint effort and take it to a successful conclusion in May 2012. They noted that the joint celebration had enthused the people on both sides to explore the common cultural heritage and linkages and had promoted exchanges not only among Tagore experts, but also a whole range of artists, singers, dancers, dramatists, poets, writers, actors, etc. which had led to greater understanding among the two sides. It was agreed that the 90th Anniversary of the publication of Bidrohi by Poet Nazrul Islam would be jointly celebrated. Bangladesh Prime Minister conveyed her intention to set up a Bangladesh Bhaban in Shantiniketan as a resource centre for use of the visiting academicians and researchers from Bangladesh.
  • Recognizing the urgent need of trained doctors and specialists in the field of healthcare in Bangladesh, the two Prime Ministers agreed to set up a programme for training of Bangladesh doctors in premier Indian medical institutes.
  • Bangladesh Prime Minister appreciated the concurrence of the Government of India to the opening of a Deputy High Commission of Bangladesh in Mumbai. In addition, both sides agreed to consider further strengthening diplomatic and consular presence in each other’s countries.
  • Recognizing the value of television channels as a means to promote cultural exchange and dissemination of information, the two Prime Ministers welcomed the signing of MoU on Mutual Broadcast of Television Programmes between Doordarshan and Bangladesh Television. Noting that there are no restrictions, they encourgaed private channels to explore opportunities to expand the viewership in each other’s countries.
  • The two Prime Ministers underscored the need to preserve the memory of freedom fighters by undertaking various initiatives, including observance of anniversaries of their martyrdom. The Indian side informed that it would enhance scholarships to the heirs of Muktijoddhas from Bangladesh to pursue higher secondary and graduate studies. Bangladesh side requested facilitation for setting up of memorial plaques and visits of family members to the identified graves of freedom fighters buried along the border in the Indian States of Tripura, Meghalaya, Assam and West Bengal.
  • The Prime Minister of Bangladesh expressed appreciation for the assistance provided by the Indian side in the construction of 2800 core shelters for families affected by the Sidr cyclone and the construction of Theatre and Music Departments of Kalabhaban in the University of Dhaka.
  • The Prime Ministers expressed satisfaction at the utilisation of the US$ 1 billion Line of Credit extended by India and noted that it would significantly enhance infrastructure and capacities in Bangladesh. The credit would finance a number of projects identified by Bangladesh, including for supply of BG locomotives, tank wagons, passenger coaches and infrastructure projects such as Khulna-Mongla rail line and rail bridges over Titas and Bhairab rivers for strengthening Bangladesh Railways, purchase of buses for Dhaka city public transportation and dredgers for capital and maintenance dredging of Bangladesh rivers. They directed the concerned officials of both India and Bangladesh to complete all necessary measures for the speedy implementation of the projects so that the benefits would accrue to the people at an early date.
  • The Prime Minister of India Dr. Manmohan Singh announced grant to Bangladesh for several cooperation and developmental projects and other initiatives, including :

    1. Construction of state-of-the-art India-Bangladesh Culture Centre in Dhaka;
    2. Undertaking feasibility study for upgradation of Dhaka-Chittagong railway line;
    3. Construction of railway line between Akhaura and Agartala;
    4. New Indian Scholarship to 100 students at graduate, post graduate and Doctoral/ research level;
    5. Setting up of an IT Lab in a model school in each of the 64 districts in Bangladesh;
    6. Setting up of IT centres in Bangladesh Public Administration Training Centre, Military Institute of Science and Technology and Bangladesh Police Academy;
    7. Provision of solar lanterns to 2800 families affected by the Sidr Cyclone.
  • Recognizing the urgency of protecting and conserving the fragile ecosystem of Sundarban, the world’s largest mangrove forest, the two Prime Ministers expressed satisfaction at the signing of the MoU on Conservation of the Sundarban and a Protocol on the Conservation of the Royal Bengal Tiger of the Sundarban. They expressed confidence that the combined efforts of the two sides would lead to the sustenance and preservation of this common heritage.
  • Reiterating the role of SAARC in promoting regional cooperation, they agreed to work together in further strengthening SAARC, including by expanding areas of cooperation, and as partners in achieving the full implementation of all existing SAARC projects and Agreements.
  • Both sides reviewed various steps taken to strengthen sub-regional and regional cooperation, including under BIMSTEC and other regional initiatives.
  • Both Prime Ministers agreed that the two sides would harness advantages of regional and sub-regional cooperation in power, water resources, transport and other forms of connectivity, food security, education, environment and sustainable development to mutual advantage. They directed relevant authorities of both sides to study and formulate, in consultation with experts of the countries of the region, necessary terms for undertaking joint projects in the field of water resources management and hydro-power.
  • The two leaders agreed to promote trade in services under the SAARC Agreement on Trade in Services and directed early completion of work for harmonization of education curricula and mutual recognition of degrees between the two countries.
  • Both Prime Ministers reiterated the importance of an effective multilateral system, centred on a strong United Nations, as a key factor in tackling global challenges. In this context, they also recognized the need to pursue the reform of the main UN bodies, including the Security Council. The Prime Minister of Bangladesh reiterated her country's support for India's candidature for permanent membership of an expanded and reformed UN Security Council. Both sides noted with satisfaction contributions of both countries to UN peacekeeping operations.
  • The two Prime Ministers underscored the need for strengthening and reform of multilateral financial institutions and enhancing the voice and participation of developing countries in international economic decision-making.
  • Both sides agreed that climate change was one of the most important global challenges. They reaffirmed the provisions and principles of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), including that of common but differentiated responsibilities. It was agreed that adaptation programmes for environment protection were essential to combat climate change. They agreed to collaborate on matters of mutual interest to preserve common eco-systems and coordinate their response in international fora. They also stressed the need to meet the over-riding priority of poverty eradication and sustainable development and agreed to enhance cooperation on issues related to bio-diversity.
  • The two sides expressed their conviction that Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh's visit to Bangladesh and signing of historic documents between the two countries marks a watershed in the bilateral relationship between two close and friendly neighbours.
  • The Prime Minister of India thanked the Prime Minister of Bangladesh for the warmth, cordiality and gracious hospitality extended to him and members of his delegation during their stay in Bangladesh.
  • Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh extended an invitation to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to pay a visit to India. The invitation was accepted and it was agreed that the dates of the visit would be finalised through diplomatic channels.
Dhaka
September 7, 2011
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