Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday appreciated Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s development goals of transforming Bangladesh into a middle income country by 2021 and a developed one by 2041.
“Closer relations and people-to-people links between the two countries would take our development and prosperity to new heights,” he said while addressing a function to dedicate three projects in Bangladesh.
Modi reiterated his view that leaders of neighbouring countries should have a relationship like neighbours, talking and visiting frequently, without getting bogged down by protocol.
He said this closeness is evident in the frequent interactions between him and Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.
He recalled Bangladesh Sheikh Hasina’s vision of restoring connectivity to the way it was before 1965 and said he is happy that there has been steady progress towards this goal in the last few years.
“Today, we’ve increased our power connectivity, and started two projects to increase our railway connectivity,” he said.
During his visit to Bangladesh in 2015, Modi recalled, it had been decided to supply an additional 500 MW of power to Bangladesh, according to a copy of his speech that UNB obtained from New Delhi.
He said this is being done using the transmission link between West Bengal and Bangladesh and thanked the Chief Minister of West Bengal Mamata Banerjee for her facilitation in completion of this work.
With the completion of this project, Modi said, 1.16 Gigawatts of power is now being supplied from India to Bangladesh.
He said this journey from megawatts to Gigawatts is symbolic of a golden era in the relations between India and Bangladesh.
The Prime Minister said the Akhaura-Agartala rail connectivity will provide another link in the cross-border connectivity between the two countries. He thanked the Chief Minister of Tripura, Shri Biplab Kumar Deb, for his facilitation in completion of this work.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, her Indian counterpart Modi, Chief Minister of West Bengal Mamata Banerjee and the Chief Minister of Tripura Biplab Kumar Deb jointly inaugurated three projects in Bangladesh, via video conference.
Foreign Minister AH Mahmood Ali and External Affairs Minister of India SushmaSwaraj also joined the videoconference from Dhaka and Delhi respectively.
These include 500 MW additional power supply from India to Bangladesh, through the existing Bheramara (Bangladesh) – Baharampur (India) interconnection, Akhaura–Agartala Rail Link and Rehabilitation of the Kulaura-Shahbazpur section of Bangladesh Railways.
Speaking on the occasion, the Indian Prime Minister recalled that he had met Sheikh Hasina several times in the recent past, including at the Bimstec meeting in Kathmandu, in Santiniketan, and during the Commonwealth Summit in London. unb