Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Bangladesh counterpart Sheikh Hasina are set to hold a virtual bilateral summit in December, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said on Tuesday.MEA said that the entire gamut of bilateral relations between the two neighbouring nations was reviewed in the sixth meeting of the Joint Consultative Commission (JCC), co-chaired by Bangladesh Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen and his Indian counterpart, S Jaishankar. “Reiterating the commitment of India to prioritize the supply of COVID-19 vaccines, the External Affairs Minister emphasized the importance of Bangladesh in India’s ‘Neighborhood First’ policy,” MEA said in a statement.
The two Ministers also reiterated their commitment to the 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, namely, Manu, Muhuri, Khowai, Gumti, Dharla and Dudhkumar.
They jointly unveiled a commemorative postal stamp issued by the Government of Bangladesh on the occasion of the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi. External Affairs Minister announced India’s decision to launch a commemorative postal stamp on the occasion of the birth centenary of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman on December 16, 2020.
“Both sides also discussed progress on making of the biopic on Bangladesh’s Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, under the direction of Indian film director Shyam Benegal. Simultaneously, they also stressed on the need to start work on the Liberation War documentary, for which Bangladesh side informed that the process for selecting a director from Bangladesh will be completed soon,” MEA said.Both Ministers noted the discussions on border management and security in the recently concluded 50th Director-General Level Talks (DGLT) between BSF and BGB in Dhaka.
MEA said that both countries agreed to initiate ‘air travel bubble’ flights to meet the urgent requirements of certain categories of travellers on both sides during the pandemic. Bangladesh side also requested the Indian side to resume regular travel through land ports at the earliest.Foreign Minister reiterated the request to the Indian side for informing in advance of amendments in export policy that the Government of India may take which impact India’s export of essential commodities to Bangladesh since such exports are an important factor influencing Bangladesh’s domestic market. The Indian side took note of this.The two Ministers reviewed the status of implementation of projects under the three Lines of Credit (LoC) agreements concluded between India and Bangladesh.
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 the progress of implementation of the LoC projects.Both countries expressed satisfaction at 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.Jaishankar thanked Bangladesh for supporting India in its election to the United Nations Security Council. Both countries agreed to continue working together towards combating climate change, attainment of the SDGs and protection of the rights of migrants.
The two Ministers reiterated the importance of the safe, speedy and sustainable return to Myanmar of the forcibly displaced persons from the Rakhine State of Myanmar, currently being sheltered by Bangladesh. In this regard, Bangladesh Foreign Minister emphasized that unless the problem is resolved quickly, there are possibilities of pockets of radicalism disrupting economic growth, peace and stability in the region and requested India’s leverage, to address the crisis.Both Ministers highlighted that given the regional and global economic scenarios following the COVID-19 outbreak, leveraging the resources of the two regional organisations, namely SAARC and BIMSTEC have become more imperative now than ever before.
“Bangladesh requested India’s support in strengthening cooperation under IORA to ensure maritime safety and security in the Indian Ocean Region. Bangladesh also assured to continue playing an active role in the IORA as it assumes Chairmanship of the Association in 2021,” MEA said.Both sides agreed to hold the next JCC meeting in New Delhi at a mutually convenient date to be decided through diplomatic channels.