“Bangladesh’s relations with India are very special and eternal,” said former foreign secretary Shahidul Haque, adding the PM Modi and PM Hasina share an excellent relationship.

“I have no doubt that forthcoming visit of PM Sheikh Hasina to India will yield very positive results,” Haque also said.

The two former foreign secretaries were addressing at a programme ‘Special Lecture on Bangladesh’s Foreign Policy’ organised by Indian Council of World Affairs (ICWA), at Sapru House, New Delhi, India.

We are thankful to the Indian side as they agreed to my proposal (to resume JRC meeting before PM’s visit). We have agreed on a number of issues in principle. We hope some development will happen
AK Abdul Momen, Foreign minister

Vijay Thakur Singh, DG, ICWA, delivered opening remarks on the occasion.

Shringla appreciated prime minister Sheikh Hasina’s zero-tolerance policy against terrorism which sent a signal that both the countries needed peace and stability.

He said that was very important for the two countries’ progress and development.

Shringla said both India and Bangladesh enjoy a very close and unique relation.

He noted growing trade relations between the two countries with sound economic policies in both the countries.

The much-awaited Joint Rivers Commission (JRC) meeting between Bangladesh and India would be held on 25 August to discuss water sharing issues as the two countries share 54 rivers.

“We are thankful to the Indian side as they agreed to my proposal (to resume JRC meeting before PM’s visit). We have agreed on a number of issues in principle. We hope some development will happen,” foreign minister AK Abdul Momen told reporters recently.

Momen also said prime minister Sheikh Hasina agreed to visit New Delhi on 5-6 September at the invitation of Indian prime minister Narendra Modi.

“We want to build a stronger relationship with India,” he said, adding that bilateral issues and relevant issues in the context of the current global scenario are likely to be discussed during PM Hasina’s forthcoming visit.

At the invitation of prime minister Hasina, her Indian counterpart Modi paid a state visit to Bangladesh from 26 to 27 March last year to join the celebrations of the Golden Jubilee of the Independence of Bangladesh, the birth centenary of Bangladesh’s founding father Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and 50 years of establishment of diplomatic relations between Bangladesh and India.

The visit symbolised the partnership of half-a-century between India and Bangladesh that has “strengthened, matured and evolved” as a model for bilateral relations for the entire region.

Recalling earlier discussions, PM Hasina at the meeting with Modi reiterated Bangladesh’s long-pending request for concluding the interim agreement on the sharing of the waters of the Teesta river.

She underscored that to alleviate the sufferings and save the livelihoods of millions of people dependent on the Teesta river basin, it is necessary that Bangladesh receives its fair share of the Teesta waters, the draft agreement of which has already been agreed upon by both governments in January 2011.

Prime minister Modi reiterated India’s sincere commitment and continued efforts to conclude this agreement, in consultation with the relevant stakeholders.

During the meeting last year, the two leaders directed their respective Ministries of Water Resources to work towards an early conclusion of the Framework of Interim Agreement on sharing of waters of six common rivers, namely, Manu, Muhuri, Khowai, Gumti, Dharla and Dudhkumar.

The Bangladesh side reiterated the urgency for India to allow excavation of the remaining portion of Rahimpur Khal for utilisation of Kushiyara river waters for irrigation of the Upper Surma Kushiyara project, as the matter is directly linked with the food security of Bangladesh.

At the 7th round of the Bangladesh-India Joint Consultative Commission (JCC) meeting held in New Delhi this year, Bangladesh and India agreed to work closely together to further deepen and strengthen cooperation in the areas of common rivers and water resources management.

The two countries also agreed to strengthen cooperation in the areas of IT and cyber security, renewable energy, agriculture and food security, sustainable trade, climate change and disaster management.