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Wider connectivity vital for dev of region: Hasina

By UNB, DHAKA
07th-Jun-2015       
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Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Saturday said a greater connectivity is very vital for the development of the two countries and the region saying that the signing of a slew of deals on that front are examples of two countries commitment to seamless connectivity.
"We understand each other's concerns and priorities. Prime Minister Modi (Narendra Modi) and I agree that a greater connectivity is vital for the development of the two countries and for the region," said Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina mentioning that connectivity across the region will reduce inequalities maximising welfare gains.
She made the remark in her statement at a joint press statement issued on Saturday mentioning that  the new trade facilitation measures incorporated in signed agreements would create new opportunities for more trade, investment and business. "We've very good cooperation in power and energy sectors."
The Prime Minister mentioned the signing of the Coastal Shipping Agreement, the renewal of the Trade Agreement and the Protocol on Inland Water Transit and Trade, as well as the flagging off new bus services are examples of their commitment to seamless connectivity across the region.
Describing the moment as truly a historic moment, Hasina said, "We're transforming our relationship to a greater" On LBA issue, Hasina said with the exchange of the letters of ratification of the 1974 Land Boundary Agreement, a 68-year-old humanitarian issue comes to a peaceful end.
"We're extremely happy that the land boundary issue has finally been resolved. I appreciate Prime Minister Modi's leadership in achieving it. It has been possible for his bold leadership"
Hasina thanked the people of India and all the political parties in India for their unequivocal support to the agreement. "In this context, I recall with gratitude the historic role of our Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and then Indian Prime Minister Srimati Indira Gandhi."
The Prime Minister recognised the contribution of Indian President of India Pranab Mukherjee. "We recall with deep gratitude the enormous contribution of India in our glorious War of Liberation."
She said, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, in a speech delivered in Kolkata on 06 February 1972 had said, "As for us, we'll be wanting to cooperate with all concerned for creating an area of peace in South Asia, where we could live side by side as good neighbors and pursue constructive policies for the benefit of our people…."
"This visionary statement encapsulates how we look at South Asia. I believe we could collectively achieve greater peace, stability, progress and prosperity for the people in the region which was the dream of our Father of the Nation," she added.
The Prime Minister mentioned that India is certainly Bangladesh's most important neighbour and one of key development partners. "India made invaluable contribution during our War of Liberation for which we are deeply grateful."
To bring balance in trade between the two countries she said both countries agreed to establish Special Economic Zones in Mongla and Bheramara for India.
"We hope this would increase Indian investment in Bangladesh substantially. Today, we have signed a number of bilateral documents, covering diverse areas of cooperation," she said.
These include economic cooperation, trade and investment, security, infrastructure development, education, science and technology, IT and culture.
The Bangladesh Prime Minister said cooperation in such a vast area shows the depth, breadth and maturity of partnership for development.
"We also discussed the issues of sharing of water of 54 common rivers. We both reiterated our strong commitment to make our borders peaceful and prosperous. We also pledged 'zero tolerance' against terrorism and extremism," she added.
The PM said people-to-people contact is the strongest of links.  "Together, we decided to open Bangladesh Mission in Guwahati, Indian Missions in Khulna and Sylhet. This again reflects our growing mutual confidence and shared commitment to expand our relationship.
We have to translate the Declaration into concrete deliverables. I assure you, Prime Minister, that we are committed to extend full support and cooperation in this journey," Hasina said adding that her Indian counterpart's visit has infused a new dynamism and confidence in relationship between the two countries.

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