South Asia

Significant Bilateral Agreements Between Modi and Hasina Bangladesh-India
File photo

Significant Bilateral Agreements Between Modi and Hasina

Bangladesh Live News | @banglalivenews | 19 Feb 2024, 06:51 pm

New Delhi, Feb 19: India and Bangladesh share a multifaceted partnership that spans various domains.

Under the leadership of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, bilateral summits and discussions at political and official levels have increased, further strengthening the bond between the two nations.

On Sept 6 in 2022, Indian PM Narendra Modi and Sheikh Hasina signed several significant agreements further strengthening the bilateral relationship between the two countries.

Water Sharing from Kushiyara River

An agreement was reached regarding the withdrawal of water from the cross-border Kushiyara river.

This recent bilateral agreement between India and Bangladesh regarding water sharing from the Kushiyara River is a significant step in enhancing cooperation between the two neighbouring countries and will benefit southern Assam in India and the Sylhet region of Bangladesh.

The agreement outlines the process for withdrawing water from the cross-border Kushiyara river.

By ensuring a fair and regulated water-sharing mechanism, both nations aim to promote sustainable development and address water-related challenges in the region.

The successful negotiation of this water-sharing agreement reflects the spirit of cooperation and diplomacy between India and Bangladesh.

Space Technology Cooperation

Both countries have agreed to collaborate on space technology. This partnership aims to foster advancements in this critical field.

Both nations agreed to build on the 2017 India and Bangladesh Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on cooperation in the peaceful uses of outer space.

The MoU enables cooperation in space science, technology, and applications, including remote sensing of the Earth, satellite communication, satellite-based navigation, space science, planetary exploration, and the use of spacecraft and space systems.

The Collaboration extends to ground systems related to space technology. The new agreement aims to foster advancements in space-related research and applications.

Railways and IT Systems

The Indian Railways has taken significant steps to enhance cooperation with the Bangladesh Railway.

Two Memoranda of Understanding (MoUs) were signed between the two countries, fostering collaboration in training and information technology (IT) systems.

The first MoU focuses on training. Under this agreement, the Indian Railways will provide training to Bangladesh Railway personnel.

The training will take place at institutes within India and will include seminars, workshops, classroom sessions, and field training.

Additionally, Indian officials will assist in setting up and improving training facilities in Bangladesh. The goal is to enhance the skills and knowledge of railway employees, promoting efficient operations and better service delivery.

The second MoU pertains to IT systems. It aims to provide information technology solutions for various aspects of the Bangladesh Railway.

These solutions which will be implemented through the Centre for Railway Information Systems (CRIS) include:
Computerization of passenger ticketing: Streamlining ticketing processes.
Freight operation and control office: Improving freight management.
Train inquiry system: Enhancing passenger information.
Digitization of asset management: Efficiently managing railway assets.
Human resource and finance infrastructure: Modernising administrative functions.

These collaborative efforts are essential for strengthening rail connectivity between India and Bangladesh, fostering economic growth, and promoting efficient transportation across borders.

Training and Broadcasting

The training of Bangladesh Railway personnel and Bangladeshi judicial officers in India will enhance professional development. Furthermore, cooperation in broadcasting between Prasar Bharati and Bangladesh Television is on the agenda.

Thermal Power Project

Maitree Super Thermal Power Project (STPP), a significant collaboration between India and Bangladesh in the power sector, was jointly unveiled by Indian PM Narendra Modi and PM Sheikh Hasina.

The Maitree STPP is a 1,320 MW coal-fired power station currently under construction in Rampal, Bangladesh, on a 1,834-acre site along the banks of the Passur River, approximately 14 km away from the Sundarbans.

The project is being developed by the Bangladesh India Friendship Power Company (BIFPCL), which is a 50:50 joint venture between India’s state-run National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) and the Bangladesh Power Development Board (BPDB).

This joint venture aims to provide much-needed electricity to Bangladesh and strengthen the bilateral relationship between the two neighbouring countries.

The project is being financed through a £1.3 billion ($1.6 billion) loan from the Export-Import (EXIM) Bank of India.

BIFPCL entered into a loan agreement with the EXIM Bank of India in March 2017.

Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited (BHEL) was awarded an engineering, procurement, and construction (EPC) contract worth £1.15 billion ($1.5 billion) for the plant in July 2016.

BHEL subcontracted the global technology company GE for the supply of pressure part components for the project in May 2017.

The operationalization of the Maitree Super Thermal Power Plant will enhance energy security in Bangladesh and strengthen connectivity and energy security in the region.

Rupsha Rail Bridge

The 5.13-km Rupsha rail bridge, constructed with an Indian line of credit, was also inaugurated.

It is a crucial part of the Khulna-Mongla port broad gauge railway project, enhancing connectivity with Mongla, Bangladesh’s second-largest port.

The bridge was constructed through a collaboration between Bangladesh Railway and Indian Larsen & Toubro Limited.

It plays a crucial role in enhancing connectivity and accessibility to the Mongla Port, facilitating the transportation of goods and improving market access for local businesses, including agricultural produce from farmers in the region.

Its inauguration has strengthened people-to-people contact and facilitated regional economic integration between the two countries.

Concessional Loans and Advances

India has provided concessional loans worth USD 9.5 billion for various development projects in Bangladesh.

India is supporting rail connectivity projects in Bangladesh.

Notably, the Khulna-Dhaka and Chilahati-Rajshahi rail links are part of this effort.

Another significant project involves facilitating fuel transportation through the Parbatipur-Kaunia rail project.

Defence Procurement

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Sheikh Hasina expressed satisfaction at the intensification of bilateral defence ties.

They also agreed on the early finalisation of projects under the line of credit for defence, which would be beneficial for both countries.

An MoU was signed between India’s Defence Services Staff College and Dhaka’s Defence Services Command and Staff College to enhance cooperation in the field of strategic and operational studies.

Another MoU was signed between Dhaka’s National Defence College and India’s National Defence College to strengthen cooperation in national security, development, and strategic studies.

Development of Fairway

An MoU was signed for the development of the fairway from Sirajganj to Daikhowa and Ashuganj to Zakiganj on the Indo-Bangladesh Protocol Route.

India’s commitment to human resource development in Bangladesh reflects a shared vision of progress and cooperation.

Human resource development is a key component of India’s development cooperation efforts in Bangladesh through its several ongoing training programmes and scholarships.

India has made commendable efforts in human resource development in Bangladesh, contributing to the growth and well-being of its people.

India offers scholarships to Bangladeshi students for higher education in Indian universities.

The Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) provides scholarships for undergraduate, postgraduate, and doctoral studies.

These scholarships cover various fields such as engineering, medicine, arts, and social sciences.

India has been training 1800 Bangladesh Civil Service officials since 2019 at National Centre for Good Governance (NCGG), Mussoorie.

India supports capacity building in the healthcare sector.

Medical camps, training workshops, and exchange programs benefit healthcare professionals.

Initiatives like the Bangladesh-India Friendship Hospital in Dhaka provide quality healthcare services.

Furthermore, India and Bangladesh are poised to commence negotiations on a Bilateral Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA).

The CEPA aims to focus on trade in goods, services, and investment, with the goal of reducing the trade gap between the two nations.

India values its strong trade partnership with Bangladesh, which is one of its top export destinations.

The expansion of connectivity and trade infrastructure at borders is expected to contribute to the growth of both nations.

In summary, the relationship between India and Bangladesh is characterised by mutual respect, shared interests, and a commitment to enhancing cooperation across various domains.