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Indian, Bangladesh PMs hail new economic ties

Indian PM says deals with Bangladesh 'unveiled some of the pathways to this future'

Baku. 6 June. REPORT.AZ/ The prime ministers of Bangladesh and India hailed an era of more open trade and connectivity during a press conference in Bangladesh's capital Dhaka on Saturday.

Report informs referring to the Anadilu Agency, India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Bangladeshi counterpart Sheikh Hasina announced a series of deals focused on increasing regional connectivity, including new free trade zones in border areas and increased power supply from India to Bangladesh.

Earlier they completed the ratification of the crucial decades-delayed Land Boundary Agreement, which allows the exchange of 162 enclaves of territory that each country held but were neglected because they lay on opposite sides of the land border.

"The visit is a historic moment. We have resolved a question that has lingered since Independence. Our two nations have a settled boundary now," said Modi of the agreement, claiming it would make their borders more secure.

Modi also announced a $2 billion line of credit that India will extend to Bangladesh for infrastructure projects and said "there is a natural logic" to having more open links between the two neighbors.

"Connectivity by road, rail, rivers, sea, transmission lines, petroleum pipelines and digital links will increase. Today, we have unveiled some of the pathways to this future," said Modi.

Modi also said that, with the support of state governments in India, he believed a long-awaited water-sharing deal regarding the River Teesta, which flows through both countries, can be agreed.

Hasina echoed Modi's sentiment, saying: “We agreed that the connectivity between the two nations is not only important for the countries concerned, it is also important for the development of the entire region.”

Earlier, two Indian companies signed agreements to set up four new power plant units in Bangladesh that would generate 4,600 megawatts, reported state news agency Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha.

Hasina greeted Modi at the airport in the capital Dhaka early Saturday as the oft-congested city was recalibrated for the Indian prime minister's arrival, with traffic diverted and security checks increased.

The chief minister of India's eastern state of West Bengal, Mamata Banerjee, arrived on Friday to join the talks. Her state shares a border and linguistic ties with Bangladesh but Banerjee has also controversially blocked the River Teesta sharing deal in the past.

Banerjee joined Modi and Hasina as they launched the second of two routes connecting Bangladesh to northeastern India; the first being inaugrated earlier by Banerjee herself, in Kolkata, the capital of West Bengal.

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