PM Modi, B’desh PM Hasina Ink 7 Pacts, Launch 3 Bilateral Projects

India and Bangladesh on Saturday, 5 October, inked seven pacts and launched three projects after Prime Minister Narendra Modi held wide-ranging talks with his Bangladeshi counterpart Sheikh Hasina, PTI reported.

One of the projects included import of Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG)  from Bangladesh for distribution in the Northeastern states.

The pacts signed after Modi-Hasina talks provided for deeper cooperation between the two countries in areas of water resources, youth affairs, culture, education and coastal surveillance.

"I am happy that today's talks will further energise our bilateral ties," Modi said.

Modi said in the last one year, the two sides launched a total of 12 projects, including three inaugurated on Saturday, which reflected the intensity in ties between the two sides.

In her remarks, Hasina said ties between the two countries have been on an upswing in the last few years including in areas of maritime security, civil nuclear energy and trade, PTI reported.

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Earlier, Hasina and Modi held bilateral talks, after the Bangladesh PM had a brief meeting with External Affairs Minister (EAM) S Jaishankar. “The leaders have met for the second time in 10 days exemplifying the strength of India-Bangladesh ties,” tweeted Raveesh, Kumar, Official Spokesperson of the Ministry of External Affairs.

Hasina, who arrived on Thursday, is on a four-day visit to the country.

As part of her first official engagement, Hasina participated as the chief guest in the India Economic Summit which was organised by the World Economic Forum (WEF).

This is Hasina's first visit to India since the completion of the elections in Bangladesh and India, a press statement from the ministry of external affairs (MEA) said.

Tripura Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb, who met Hasina on Thursday, said the two discussed a range of issues including a direct flight between Agartala and Dhaka, ANI reported.

India and Bangladesh are likely to sign an MoU for a new waterway to connect Gomati river in Tripura and Meghna river in Bangladesh, Deb had said.

The waterway would facilitate carriage of goods from Ashuganj port on Meghna river in Brahmanbaria district of Bangladesh to Sonamura in Sipahijala district of Tripura, Deb added.

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Hasina Jokes About India’s Ban on Onion Exports

India’s ban on onion exports due to soaring domestic prices has taken a hit on Bangladesh, and even the prime minister complained of how it is off her menu now.

She spoke about the difficulty in procuring onions for her country since the world's biggest exporter of onions sealed supply due to delayed harvests, and asked why there was no prior notice of the ban. While speaking at the India-Bangladesh Business Forum being held on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum, on Friday, Hasina also said Bangladesh is a fast-growing global economy and has become a hotspot for businesses as well.

"“It has become difficult for us to get onions. I don’t know why you stopped the supply. I’ve told my cook to make food without onions!”" - Sheik Hasina, Bangladesh Prime Minister

Hasina Calls for More Investment in Bangladesh

Hasina on Thursday urged Indian investors to step up investment in Bangladesh and said her country "knows how to transform challenges into opportunities," according to ANI.

At an interactive session of the World Economic Forum, Hasina said, "It is time for global investors, particularly Indian entrepreneurs, to invest in Bangladesh in areas like education, engineering, and artificial intelligence."

Bangladesh High Commissioner to India said that Hasina will also likely highlight the country's progress from a least developed country (LDC) to a middle-income one and seek more investments.

Apart from addressing the Indian Economic Forum, Hasina will interact with three Indian Chamber of Commerce leaders during a joint meeting on Friday, ANI reported.

(With inputs from ANI and PTI)

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