India, Bangladesh discuss bilateral cooperation, sign 3 MoUs ahead of G20

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Bangladesh's Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina sign agreements on cooperation in digital payments, renewal of the Cultural Exchange Programme, and agricultural research

PM Modi, Sheikh Hasina

Prime Minister Narendra Modi with Bangladesh   Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina (left) during a bilateral meeting

BS Web Team New Delhi

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A day before the G20 summit, India's Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, engaged in discussions with his Bangladeshi counterpart, Sheikh Hasina, to explore diverse avenues for bilateral cooperation, according to agency reports. The talks include topics such as connectivity and commercial partnerships.

In a statement following his second bilateral meeting of the day, which followed talks with Mauritian Prime Minister Pravind Jugnauth, Modi expressed satisfaction with the "productive deliberations" held with PM Sheikh Hasina. He spoke on the progress in India-Bangladesh relations over the past nine years and highlighted the key areas of discussion, including connectivity and commercial linkages.

In a post on X (formerly Twitter), Prime Minister Modi wrote, "Had productive deliberations with PM Sheikh Hasina. The progress in India-Bangladesh relations in the last 9 years has been very gladdening. Our talks covered areas like connectivity, commercial linkage and more."

During the bilateral talks between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Bangladesh's Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in New Delhi, the two nations signed three memorandums of understanding (MoUs).

Among them was an agreement on cooperation in digital payment mechanisms, with the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) official release stating, "The MoU on cooperation in Digital Payment mechanism was signed between National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) and Bangladesh Bank."

Another MoU focused on the renewal of the Cultural Exchange Programme (CEP) between India and Bangladesh for 2023-2025. The third MoU was inked between the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) and the Bangladesh Agriculture Research Council (BARC).

The leaders also expressed eagerness for the commencement of negotiations on the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA), which encompasses trade in goods and services, as well as the protection and promotion of investments.

Discussions between the leaders reportedly also extended to recent regional developments and collaboration in international fora.

Both Prime Minister Modi and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina expressed contentment with the implementation of development cooperation projects. The two will jointly be inaugurating several projects, including the Agartala-Akhaura Rail Link, Unit-II of the Maitri Power Plant, and the Khulna-Mongla Rail Link, at a suitable date in the future.

PM Modi also conveyed India's constructive and positive approach to supporting the safe and sustainable repatriation of the refugees, as stated by the MEA.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina acknowledged Prime Minister Modi's hospitality and expressed mutual interest in continuing their exchanges at various levels. The leaders affirmed their commitment to ongoing collaboration.

Over the two days of the G20 Summit, Prime Minister Modi is scheduled to engage in approximately 15 bilateral meetings, reaffirming India's commitment to fostering friendships and cooperation on the international stage. He earlier remarked, "I will also be holding bilateral meetings with several leaders and Heads of Delegation to further deepen the bonds of friendship and cooperation."

First Published: Sep 09 2023 | 3:00 PM IST

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