India Bangladesh agree to start talks on comprehensive trade pact

Narendra Modi with Sheikh Hasina. [WikiMedia Commons]

New Delhi: On Saturday, India and Bangladesh agreed to commence negotiations on a comprehensive economic partnership agreement and developed a forward-looking vision to enhance their overall relations, announced Prime Minister Narendra Modi after discussions with his Bangladeshi counterpart Sheikh Hasina.

Modi emphasised to the media that Bangladesh is India’s most development partner and that New Delhi places the utmost importance on its relationship with Dhaka. In the presence of Hasina, he highlighted the creation of a futuristic vision for cooperation in new areas between the two nations.

A series of agreements were signed to further diversify their relations, particularly in the digital domain, maritime sector, and railway connectivity. Following the talks between Modi and Hasina, both countries finalised a document outlining a shared vision for a “green partnership.”

The agreement on maritime cooperation and the blue economy was also noted as significant. Modi stated that both nations have agreed to initiate discussions on the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) to advance their economic ties.

Extensive discussions were also held on enhancing defence cooperation, including defence production and modernisation of the armed forces. Modi welcomed Bangladesh’s decision to join the Indo-Pacific Oceans Initiative.

Highlighting the importance of India-Bangladesh relations, Modi explained that Bangladesh is central to New Delhi’s Neighbourhood First policy, Act East policy, Vision SAGAR, and Indo-Pacific vision. He reaffirmed India’s commitment to realising Bangabandhu’s vision of a stable, prosperous, and progressive Bangladesh.

In her remarks, Hasina described India as a major neighbour and trusted friend, expressing that Dhaka highly values its relationship with New Delhi, a bond forged during the “war of liberation in 1971.”

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