Prime Minister Narendra Modi flagged off a passenger train between India and Bangladesh on Thursday. The fully air-conditioned weekly ‘Bandhan Express’ will run every Thursday between Kolkata and Khulna.
“I believe that relations between leaders of neighbouring countries should be like neighbours. We should not be in restrictions of protocols for visits or talks,” Modi said in a video. Bangladesh PM Sheikh Hasina and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee were also present for the flagging off ceremony, which was done via video conferencing.
Modi said the friendly ties between India and Bangladesh have further strengthened. “Aaj ei shubho uplokkhe dui desh bashider amar abhinandan janai. Aaj amader moitreyee, bandhon aro sudriro holo‘ (I congratulate the people of the two countries on this auspicious occasion. Our ties of friendship got more strengthened today),” he said in Bengali.
The three also inaugurated two bridges over the rivers Meghna and Titas in Bangladesh. Bangladesh PM Hasina said, “Today is a great day for relations between the two countries with the inauguration of the train services and the two bridges. This train service is a dream come true for people on both sides of the border.”
West Bengal CM described the launch as a remarkable day for India and Bangladesh. “The relations between the two countries will strengthen in the future,” Mamata said. Immigration and customs facilities were also inaugurated at Kolkata station.
New bus and train services had been announced during Hasina’s visit to India in April. “We want to build cooperation in new areas, especially some high-technology areas, that have a deeper connect with the youth in both our societies,” Modi had said.
(With PTI inputs)