India on Tuesday said that joint efforts to combat human trafficking are the need of the hour, as External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar met Bangladesh Foreign Minister A K Abdul Momen through virtual mode.
Ties between the two countries had been strained since December last year as the CAA and NRC issues took centre stage.
Jaishankar said, “Sincere efforts have also been made by both sides to develop greater coordination between our border guarding forces through mechanisms like joint patrolling and exchange of real time information. I strongly feel that joint efforts to combat human trafficking are the need of the hour. Our border guarding force has been particularly sensitized on this important issue.”
A joint statement said that both ministers noted the discussions on border management and security in the recently concluded 50th Director General Level Talks between the BSF and Border Guards Bangladesh (BGB) in Dhaka.
The two ministers stressed the need for further strengthening effective implementation of the Coordinated Border Management Plan (CBMP).
“Both sides agreed that the loss of civilian lives at the border is a matter of concern and urged the concerned border forces to enhance coordinated measures to bring such border incidents down to zero,” the joint statement said.
The Bangladesh side highlighted that the nation is deeply concerned at the rise in killings of Bangladeshi nationals by Indian border forces, a statement from Bangladesh Foreign Ministry said.
“It also said that the importance of educating the border population about the sanctity of the international border was stressed upon. The Indian side also requested for an expeditious approval to erect the Single Row Fencing in vulnerable patches along the border, within 150 yards, that will help contain border crimes,” the joint statement said.
The Bangladesh foreign minister requested Jaishankar to “look into the export of essential commodities, such as onions by India, since this impacts the domestic market of Bangladesh”, a Bangladesh foreign ministry statement said.
The two ministers reviewed the status of implementation of projects under the three Lines of Credit (LoC) agreements concluded between India and Bangladesh. The Bangladesh side thanked India for being one of their largest and most reliable economic and development partners in Asia.
“In order to ensure timely implementation of these projects, both sides decided to form a ‘High Level Monitoring Committee’ headed by Secretary, Economic Relations Division from the Bangladesh side and the High Commissioner of India in Dhaka to regularly review progress of implementation of the LoC projects,” the joint statement said.
They also discussed the increasing pace of defence cooperation including in training, exchanges and capacity building. They welcomed the proposal to hold the next meeting of the Annual Defence Dialogue in November. They urged an early implementation of the Defence Line of Credit.
On the Teesta pact, the two ministers reiterated their commitment to “finalization of the Interim Agreement for sharing of the waters of the Teesta”.
They also underscored the need for early conclusion of Framework of Interim Agreement on sharing of waters of six other joint rivers — Manu, Muhuri, Khowai, Gumti, Dharla and Dudhkumar.
The two Prime Ministers will have a bilateral meeting in December this year.
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