India-Bangladesh Friendship Dialogue begins in Guwahati

News Hour:

The 8th round of India- Bangladesh Friendship Dialogue, started Sunday in Assam’s capital city of Guwahati witnesses pragmatic discussions on various bilateral issues. Organized by Assam Innovation and Transformation Aayog in collaborations with Maulana Abul Kalam Azad Institute of Asian Studies, Bangladesh Foundation for Regional Studies and India Foundation, the three-day program is expected to pave ways for resolutions on different burning issues before its culmination on Tuesday.

Extolling the intrinsic relationship between the two neighboring nations, Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal emphasized to ensure that respective territories of both the countries not be allowed for using each other’s harm.

“We have common enemies, problems, and threats, those have to be combated and fought together. Our common enemy is poverty and together we have to fight that. Our common threats which of course are also a global threat are terrorism and fundamentalism. We have to fight them together and have been working together,” said Sonowal.

The first BJP chief minister of Assam stated that terrorism remains one of the most significant threats to peace & stability in northeast India and fervently urged both New Delhi and Dhaka to take strong initiatives to combat terrorism in all its forms and manifestations. Appreciating the initiative taken up by the Bangladesh government for setting up of its assistant high commissionerate in the city, the young politician highlighted the urgent need to improve market access and remove barriers to trade, including port restrictions on products, to ensure smooth movement of goods across the international borders.

Sonowal also disclosed that during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Bangladesh in June 2015, 22 agreements were signed by both the countries. Similarly, during PM Sheikh Hasina’s visit to India, 35 agreements were signed, where 13 of the agreements are commercial in nature.

 

“During the visit of PM Modi, India extended a US$2 billion line of credit to Bangladesh & pledged US$5 billion worth of investments. As per the agreements, India’s Reliance Power agreed to invest US$3 billion in setting up a 3,000 MW LNG-based power plant. Adani Power will also be setting up a 1600 MW coal-fired plant at a cost of US$1.5 billion. The two countries also signed an agreement on maritime safety co-operation and curbing human trafficking and fake currencies,” added Sonowal.

He also raised the issues of dredging in Brahmaputra and Barak rivers to make river route navigable throughout the year and about the expansion of optical fiber cable connectivity from Agartala to the integrated check post at Akhaura in Indo-Bangla international border with an aim to connect the Cox Bazar submarine bandwidth.

India’s junior external affairs minister MJ Akbar emphasized on the shared capabilities that both the countries have to prosper and move forward. Stating that prosperity demands peace, the visiting Union Minister also advocated ensuring that no sanctuary to be provided to terrorist elements.

Akbar added that New Delhi would cooperate with Dhaka on developing smart cities and setting up of community clinics in the countries. He declared that three more railway lines would be operational in addition to the bus services to Bangladesh and also highlighted the potential of river navigation, improvement in power and energy sector.

State Minister of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Bangladesh Mr. Shahriar Alam, while speaking on the occasion, urged both the countries to cement ties for mutual growth. Stating that a prosperous Bangladesh can contribute to the growth of India, he also requested New Delhi to provide market access for their products.

In presence of Assam innovation & transformation official Dipak Kr Barthakur, Bangla high commissioner to India Syed Muazzem Ali, Bangla Parliamentarian Pankaj Debnath, Foundation President Alok Bansal with other dignitaries from both the countries, Alam also urged the participants of the dialogue to come forth with newer ideas for maximizing development in both the countries.

Nava Thakuria

Nava Thakuria is a Guwahati (North East India) based journalist, who contributes to News Hour and various other media outlets. He writes over various socio-political and environmental issues of North East India along with Bangladesh, Burma, Tibet, Bhutan, and Nepal. One of his areas of interest is also the media and its development.
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