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Sunday, June 7, 2015, Jaishtha 24, 1422 BS, Shaban 19, 1436 Hijr

India to solve Teesta, Feni river water sharing issue: Modi
We agree to show zero tolerance to terrorism: Hasina
Published : Sunday, 7 June, 2015,  Time : 12:00 AM,  View Count : 59
//Staff Correspondent
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has confidently said that India will be able to resolve the Teesta and Feni river water-sharing issues with the help of its state governments.
"I am confident that we can reach a fair solution to Teesta and Feni water sharing issue with the support of state governments in India. Water sharing is, above all, a human issue as it affects the life and livelihood of people on both the sides of the border of the two countries," Modi said.
The Indian Premier made the assurance while making his statement after a meeting with the Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina at the Prime Minister's Office on Saturday evening. Sheikh Hasina also read out her statement on the occasion.
Modi also emphasized proper river management and to work together to renew and clean the common rivers. "Our rivers should nurture our relationship, not become a source of conflict," he said.
Terming the bilateral talks with India very fruitful, Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said that both the countries are committed to make their borders peaceful and will show 'zero tolerance' to the terrorism and extremism.
Hasina said she also discussed the issues of sharing of water of 54 common rivers with Modi.
"We both reiterated our strong commitment to make our borders peaceful and prosperous. We also pledged 'zero tolerance' against terrorism and extremism," she discussed.
Mentioning that Narendra Modi has instilled new dynamism and confidence in the journey, Hasina firmly said that both the countries are committed to extend support and cooperation to materialize the vision for comprehensive and enduring relationship.
Terming the pathway of connectivity unveiled through this visit for the future, the Indian Prime Minister said, "Connectivity by road, rail, rivers, sea, transmission lines, petroleum pipelines and digital links will be increased."
On trade imbalance, Modi said he will try to make trade smoother and easier including at the border. He said he is aware of the huge trade gap although Bangladesh is getting duty free and quota free access to India of 25 items. He assured of providing further facilities to Bangladeshi products.
"Yet, I've assured the Prime Minister (Hasina) that we'll do everything we can to bridge the deficit, the Indian investments in Bangladesh will help" he added.
Modi reiterated his wish to deepen regional connectivity and cooperation with Bangladesh, Bhutan, India and Nepal. "There's a natural logic to this arrangement. Our development partnership is scaling new heights."
Modi said the two countries are not only neighbours, the two nations are bound by the threads of history, religion, culture and of course, passion for cricket.
"We've the emotional bonds of shared struggles and sacrifices that bring us together as sovereign and equal nations. That's why I dream for India's better future and also wish the same for Bangladesh," he added.
Modi said power supply from India to Bangladesh will grow from 500 MW to 1100 MW within two years. "The 1320 MW Rampal power project is making progress in accordance with your laws and regulation. We can do more together in power sector, here and in India," he said.
Modi said connectivity is the catalyst for deeper engagement and Bangladesh's decision to allow transit of power equipment and food-grain to the Northeast echoes the strength of Bangladesh's human values and two countries shared economic opportunities.
"People in India admire your nation's progress despite many challenges. We want you to succeed in your Mission 2021 and 2041. The success of Bangladesh is important for the region and the world," he said.
He said Bangladesh and India are defined by youth. "We owe it to them to set new directions and scale new heights in our relations. I am confident that we have done that today."
Regarding the 1974 Land Boundary Agreement, which India ratified recently, he said, "We have resolved a question that has lingered since Independence. Our two nations have a settled boundary."
On settlement of maritime boundary, Modi said it was evidence of the maturity of India's ties and shared commitment to international rules.
He described his first visit to Bangladesh is a special moment for him. "My personal journey has been enriched by the good wishes from countless people here."
Talking on the Kolkata-Dhaka-Agartala and Dhaka-Shillong-Guwahati bus services, Modi said the two bus services would connect citizens of the two countries more easily and "our two nations more closely".
Sheikh Hasina said people-to-people contact is the strongest of the links of the two countries. She said Bangladesh has decided to open diplomatic mission in Guwahati while India agreed for the same in Khulna and Sylhet.
"The decision again reflects our growing mutual confidence and shared commitment to expand our relationship," she said.
Extending her thanks to Indian Prime Minister for ratification of the 1974 Land Boundary Agreement, Sheikh Hasina said a 68-year-old humanitarian issue has come to a peaceful end through the agreement.
"We are extremely happy that the land boundary issue has finally been resolved, and I appreciate Prime Minister Modi's leadership in achieving it," she said.
In this regard Sheikh Hasina thanked the people and political parties of India for their support to the agreement and recalled with gratitude the historic role of our Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and former Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi in this agreement. She also recognized the contribution of Indian President Pranab Mukherjee in this regard.
The Prime Minister said Modi and she agreed that greater connectivity is vital for the development of the two countries and for the region.
"The signing of the Coastal Shipping Agreement, the renewal of the Trade Agreement and the Protocol on Inland Water Transit and Trade, as well as the flagging off new bus services are examples of our commitment to seamless connectivity across the region to reduce inequalities and maximizing welfare gains," she said.
Sheikh Hasina said the new trade facilitation measures incorporated in these agreements would create new opportunities for more trade, investment and business.
The Bangladesh Prime Minister said to bring balance in trade between the Bangladesh and India, the two countries agreed to establish Special Economic Zones in Mongla and Bheramara for India.
"The Indian Specialized Economic Zones would increase Indian investment in Bangladesh substantially," she hoped.
About the signing of a number of bilateral documents, covering diverse areas of cooperation, the Prime Minister said these include economic cooperation, trade and investment, security, infrastructure development, education, science and technology, IT and culture. Cooperation in such a vast area shows the depth, breadth and maturity of our partnership for development.
Earlier, Modi and Sheikh Hasina joined a "Tete-a-tete" in the restricted format before beginning of the delegation level talks."
After the meeting, delegations of the two countries met at the Bangladesh Prime Minister's Office to discuss the whole gamut of bilateral issues.
After the delegation-level talks, Bangladesh and India exchanged several instruments.
Before the two leaders met for the tete-a-tete, Modi presented Hasina with a hand-woven tapestry.
The finely made tapestry from Venkatagiri, Andhra Pradesh, woven in Jamdani style, was handed over to Hasina.

Editor : Iqbal Sobhan Chowdhury
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