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PMs forthcoming India visit to add new momentum in relations: Experts

Published : Saturday, 15 June, 2024 at 12:00 AM  Count : 118

Foreign affairs experts at a roundtable on Friday expressed their optimism over an added momentum in Bangladesh-India relations in the new tenure under the leadership of two prime ministers, giving a new beginning with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasinas full-fledged bilateral visit to India after Eid-ul-Azha.

They noted that Bangladesh-India relationship is now an example for the entire world and the beauty of this relationship is its continuity addressing issues through discussions.

Former foreign secretary Shamsher Mobin Chowdhury, former ambassador Munshi Faiz Ahmad, Executive Director of Centre for Alternatives (CA) Prof Imtiaz Ahmed, Prof Shahab Enam Khan of Jahangirnagar Universitys Department of International Relations, President of the Press Club of India Gautam Lahiri, senior Indian journalist Devadeep Purohit, DCAB President Nurul Islam Hasib, among others, joined the event moderated by Bhorer Kagoj Editor Shyamal Dutta.

"Bangladesh-India relations is now an example in the world," said former State Minister for Foreign Affairs Md Shahriar Alam while speaking as the chief guest at the discussion titled "New Governments in Bangladesh and India: A New Beginning to Further Develop the Relations" hosted by the daily Bhorer Kagoj at its office.

He said there was a discussion on a bilateral visit apart from the recent visit of PM Hasina to India to take part in the oath-taking ceremony of her Indian counterpart. "The visit is taking place. We are very happy," Shahriar said, highlighting achievements made over the last 15 years.

He said there was a 33-point joint statement issued during the state visit of prime minister of Bangladesh to India in September 2022 where issues like Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA), energy cooperation, people to people contacts, broader connectivity and others were mentioned.

Alam said the upcoming visit of the prime minister will help advance the relations on those areas. He hoped that the next meeting of the Joint Rivers Commission (JRC) will be held soon, noting that the 38th meeting of the JRC was held in New Delhi in August, 2022 wherein various matters pertaining to cooperation in water resources sector were discussed.

Joint Rivers Commission (JRC) has been functioning since 1972. It was established with a view to maintain liaison in order to ensure the most effective joint effort in maximising the benefits from common river systems. The JRC is headed by water resources ministers of both the countries.

During the bilateral visit which is likely to take place on June 21-22, the two countries are expected to sign a number of MoUs and agreements and there is an issue of making announcement on some areas of cooperation, according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

In his opening remarks, moderator Shyamal Dutta said the two countries have new elected leaderships and there is willingness from the both sides to make relations deeper as the relations as seen to be passing through a golden chapter.

Shamsher Mobin Chowdhury highlighted the importance of the relations and hoped to see some progresses in terms of water sharing of common rivers during the new tenure of the Indian government.

He also talked about the renewal of the Ganges Water Sharing Treaty. "We hope to get our fair share."

Earlier, in 2022, the two leaders welcomed the formation of a Joint Technical Committee to conduct a study for optimum utilisation of water received by Bangladesh under the provisions of Ganges Water Sharing Treaty.

Shamsher said it has been proved that Bangladesh is the most trusted neighbour of India. "If we can share blood in 1971, I believe we can share water, too."

Prof Imtiaz said both Bangladesh and India are benefiting from the decolonisation and the two countries need to bring in new dimensions in the growing relations.

"I think we need to bring something new in our relations. We have long been talking about Teesta water sharing and border killing issues," he said. Prof Imtiaz laid emphasis on enhancing people to people relations, noting that there is a need for growing South Asian minds.    —UNB







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