India, B’desh ratify land swap deal, 2 bus services get going

DHAKA: India and Bangladesh today opened a new chapter in their ties as they settled the 41-year-old boundary dispute and promised to do more in other areas amid Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s announcement of a fresh line of credit of $2 billion to the neighbouring country.

India, B’desh ratify land swap deal, 2 bus services get going

Prime Minister Narendra Modi looks on as West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee greets Bangladesh PM Sheikh Hasina while flagging off the bus service in Dhaka on Saturday. PTI 

harinder@tribunemail.com

Dhaka, June 6 

India and Bangladesh today opened a new chapter in their ties as they settled the 41-year-old boundary dispute and promised to do more in other areas amid Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s announcement of a fresh line of credit of $2 billion to the neighbouring country.

With West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee standing by his side, Modi, on his maiden visit here, also expressed confidence to have a “fair solution” to the Teesta and Feni river water sharing issues with Bangladesh “with the support of state governments in India”. After extensive talks between Modi and Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, the two sides signed 22 agreements, including cooperation in maritime safety and efforts against human trafficking. 

Hasina, whose country is seen as a hiding ground for insurgents of northeast India, also promised “zero tolerance” stance against terrorism.

In a major effort to enhance connectivity and people-to-people contact, two bus services —Kolkata-Dhaka-Agartala and Dhaka-Shillong-Guwahati —were flagged off jointly by Modi, Hasina and Mamata. Hasina said the two countries agreed to set up two special economic zones to bridge the growing trade deficit. 

Modi promised to do “everything” to address it. He announced a fresh $2 billion line of credit for Bangladesh and promised quick implementation of the earlier line of credit of $800 million and full disbursement of $200 million.

The highlight of the Modi’s first day here was the exchange of documents related to the Land Boundary Agreement (LBA), which paves the way for exchange of territories to settle the 41-year-old border dispute which has been an irritant.

Under the Agreement, 111 border enclaves will be transferred to Bangladesh in exchange for 51 that will become part of India.

“The visit is at a historic moment. We have resolved a question that has lingered since Independence. Our two nations have a settled boundary. It will make our borders more secure and people’s life there more stable,” Modi said at a joint press interaction with Hasina.

Referring to the unanimous passage of the LBA by Parliament last month, he said it “reflects the consensus in India on relations with Bangladesh.”

Noting that the two countries had accepted the settlement of the maritime boundary last year, he said: “It is evidence of the maturity of our ties and our shared commitment to international rules. So, we stand at a moment of huge opportunity in our relationship. Prime Minister (Hasina) and I recognise that.” 

Modi said connectivity between India and Bangladesh by road, rail, rivers, sea, transmission lines, petroleum pipelines and digital links will increase. — PTI

India, B’desh ink 22 pacts

1 Exchange of Instruments of Ratification of 1974 Land Boundary Agreement and its 2011 Protocol 

2 Exchange of letters on Modalities for implementation of 1974 Land Boundary Agreement and its 2011 Protocol 

3 Bilateral Trade Agreement (renewal)

4 Agreement on Coastal Shipping between Bangladesh and India 

5 Protocol on Inland Water Transit and Trade (renewal) 

6 Bilateral Cooperation Agreement between Bangladesh Standards and Testing Institution (BSTI) and Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) on Cooperation in the field of Standardisation 

7 Agreement on Dhaka-Shillong-Guwahati bus service 

8 Agreement on Kolkata-Dhaka-Agartala Bus Service 

9 Memorandum of Understanding between Coast Guards 

10 MoU on Prevention of Human Trafficking 

11 MoU on Prevention of Smuggling and Circulation Fake Currency Notes 

12 MoU between Bangladesh and India and for Extending a New Line of Credit of $2 billion by government of India to government of Bangladesh 

13 MoU on Blue Economy and Maritime Cooperation in the Bay of Bengal and the Indian Ocean 

14 MoU on use of Chittagong and Mongla ports 

15 MoU for a Project under IECC (India Endowment for Climate Change) of SAARC 

16 MoU on Indian Economic Zone 

17 Cultural Exchange Programme for the years 2015-17 

18 Statement of Intent on Bangladesh-India Education Cooperation (adoption) 

19 Agreement between Bangladesh Submarine Cable Company Limited (BSCCL) and Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) for leasing of international bandwidth for internet at Akhaura 

20 MoU between University of Dhaka, Bangladesh and Council of Scientific and Industrial Research, India for Joint Research on Oceanography of the Bay of Bengal 

21 MoU between University of Rajshahi, Bangladesh and University of Jamia Milia Islamia, India 

22 Handing over of Consent Letter by Insurance Development and Regulatory Authority (IDRA), Bangladesh to Life Insurance Corporation (LIC), India to start operations in Bangladesh

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