In a veiled reference to Pakistan, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday said there is one “thought” in South Asia that inspires and encourages terrorism. The thought whose priority is not humanity, but extremism and terrorism. He was addressing a gathering along with his Bangladeshi counterpart Sheikh Hasina at the Manekshaw Centre to pay tribute to the Indian soldiers martyred in the 1971 Bangladesh Liberation war. “I would like to pay respects to all those who lost their life during the liberation battle for the betterment of humanity,” said PM Modi.
Earlier in the day, India and Bangladesh signed 22 pacts in various sectors, holding extensive talks aimed at strengthening the bilateral partnership between the two countries. The 22 pacts were signed on a wide range of bilateral relations including energy, defence cooperation and infrastructure. However, the prolonged Teesta water-sharing issue still remains unresolved.
Referring to the Teesta water-sharing issue, the PM said, “I firmly believe that it is only my government and your excellency, Sheikh Hasina, your government that can and will find an early solution to Teesta water sharing”. India announced a $4.5 billion credit line to Bangladesh for various projects and an additional $500 million for defence procurement. The two leaders inaugurated a bus service which will run between Kolkata, Khulna and Dhaka. The leaders also announced train services from Khulna to Kolkata through Petrapole from the Indian side and Benapole from the Bangladesh side. A network for running goods train was also announced between Radhikapur and Birol. A new Finance diesel oil pipeline from Numaligarh-Parbatipur aiming at Indian companies entering into a long-term agreement for supply of high-speed diesel was also announced by the Indian government.
PM Modi while briefing the media thanked the Bangladeshi PM for honouring the soliders who laid their lives in the Bangladeshi Liberation War. The PM said, “Your decision to honour Indian soldiers who laid down their lives in the liberation war of 1971 has deeply touched the people of India”.
In reply, Sheikh Hasina thanked the Indian government for renaming an important road in New Delhi after ‘Bangabandhu’ Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, the founding father of Bangladesh. Calling for cooperation in the South Asian region and better border connectivity between the two nations she said, “regional cooperation is very, very important for development in south Asia. We both want to make our borders free from criminal activity… We decided to take our bilateral relations to new high. PM Modi and I agree greater connectivity is important for the region” .