DHAKA, April 9, 2018 (BSS) - Bangladesh and India today inked six memorandums of understanding (MoUs) to strengthen further cooperation in different areas.
The documents were signed following a bilateral meeting between visiting Indian Foreign Secretary Vijay Keshav Gokhale and his Bangladesh counterpart M. Shahidul Haque at State Guesthouse Padma here.
Gokhale arrived yesterday on a three-day official visit to discuss about various bilateral and developments issues and review the progress on 'key initiatives and decisions'.
"Today, we add another six documents to our large and growing list of meaningful agreements signed during the recent visits of PM Modi to Bangladesh and PM Sheikh Hasina to India," Gokhale told the signing ceremony.
Four of the MoUs are on the friendship pipeline between Numaligarh and Parbatipur, cooperation between Prasar Bharati and Bangladesh BETAR, installation of an ICCR Urdu Chair in Dhaka University and an Addendum to the GCNEP-BAEC Interagency Agreement.
Two more MoUs were signed for grant projects to set up language labs in 500 schools in Bangladesh and upgrade different roads in Rangpur city.
"This is part of our endeavour to undertake projects in Bangladesh in various socio-economic sectors, including education, culture, health, community welfare, road infrastructure for which we are providing 1600 crore taka under grant financing," the top Indian foreign office bureaucrat said in a written statement.
He said India remained a committed development partner of Bangladesh while it totally extended lines of credit of over USD 8 billion to the neighbor in the last seven years.
"This is the largest amount of credit India has ever committed to any single country," he said adding that India was confident that this credit will be useful to Bangladesh as it pursues its developmental priorities.
Gokhale said from 2008-09, our bilateral trade almost tripled from US$ 2.75 billion to 7.52 billion in 2016-17 and termed Bangladesh as the India's biggest trade partner in South Asia.
He said 13 agreements in the private sector worth nearly US$ 10 billion were signed during Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's India visit last year in areas like energy, logistics, education, and medicine sector.
Gokhale described his meeting with Haque as "extremely useful", and said that the two sides discussed the challenges and opportunities that the two countries need to face together.
One such challenge is that of terrorism, extremism and radicalization and we will continue to fight this menace together and along with other like-minded countries.
About bilateral trade, he said both the sides were satisfied with the progress achieved in areas such as trade and investment, security, connectivity, border management, power, energy, shipping, people-to-people exchanges.
The Indian foreign secretary highly praised Bangladesh for the first time on achieving a very significant milestone in meeting the criteria for graduating from LDC to Developing Country recently.
"We remain fully committed to playing a useful role as Bangladesh's development partner as you move to achieve your goal of becoming a middle income country by 2021 and a developed country by 2041," he said.
Bangladesh High Commissioner to New Delhi Syed Muazzem Ali, Foreign Secretary M. Shahidul Haque and Indian High Commissioner to Bangladesh Harsh Vardhan Shringla, among others, joined the signing ceremony.