Foreign Secretary’s visit to India

Bangladeshi Foreign Secretary Pic

On the second day of his visit to India, Bangladesh Foreign Secretary Mr. Md. Shahidul Haque today had bilateral talks with his Indian counterpart Mrs. Sujatha Singh at the Indian Ministry of External Affairs.

The Foreign Secretaries recognized that both the countries have  been enjoying the best of relations under the guidance of the two Prime Ministers. Indian Foreign Secretary stated that significant progress has been achieved in implementation of the 2011 Joint Statement and 2010 Joint Communiqué. Bangladesh Foreign Secretary said that the bilateral relations between the two countries have undergone positive transformation in the past five years and have reached an unprecedented height. These developments have been immensely contributing to the improvement of quality of lives and livelihood of millions of people of both the countries.

The Foreign Secretaries discussed the entire gamut of bilateral relations including security, border management, trade & investment, power, water, connectivity, people-to-people contact, regional, sub-regional and international cooperation. Both the sides noted the remarkable increase in trade and investment between the two countries. They vowed to work more closely for trade facilitation such as development of infrastructure, removal of non-tariff and para-tariff barriers and mutual recognition of standards and certificates. Both sides emphasized on taking enabling steps to enhance connectivity in the region. In this context, they expressed their commitment to expedite the work of coastal shipping connectivity.

Both sides expressed happiness at the level of cooperation in power sector and noted that there was satisfactory progress on the various initiatives taken so far. The Foreign Secretaries underscored the need of putting in place the necessary infrastructure urgently for supplying additional 500 MW of power to Bangladesh through the Bheramara-Baharampur grid inter-link and 100 MW of power from Palatana power plant in Tripura.

Regarding the issue of security and border management, the two Foreign Secretaries expressed satisfaction at the level of engagement between the two countries. Bangladesh Foreign Secretary appreciated the efforts by the Indian side to exercise utmost restraint regarding killing of Bangladesh nationals along the border and expressed hope that these would bring down the killing to zero. Indian Foreign Secretary responded that sustained efforts had significantly reduced the number of killing but even a single killing is regrettable. She reiterated the commitment of the highest level of India to bring down the killings to zero.

Bangladesh Foreign Secretary reiterated the hope of early conclusion of the Teesta Water Sharing Agreement. He expressed concern regarding the discerning fall of water flow in Teesta to Bangladesh in the recent months. India Foreign Secretary informed that they are in the process of building necessary domestic consensus for signing the Teesta agreement. On the issue of fall of Teesta water flow to Bangladesh, she said that they are taking it very seriously and have already asked their concerned technical people to immediately look into it. Bangladesh Foreign Secretary also appreciated that the bill for ratification of Land Boundary Agreement by India had been tabled in the Rajya Sabha and expressed hope that it would soon be adopted.

Later in the afternoon, Bangladesh Foreign Secretary met the Petroleum & Natural Gas Secretary of India and discussed issues of mutual interest and benefit and underscored the need to explore new areas of cooperation for greater energy security between the two countries.

He also paid courtesy calls on the External Affairs Minister of India and the National Security Adviser.

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