Bangladesh is a major pillar of Indias neighbourhood first policy, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said at the inauguration of the India-Bangladesh summit level talks held virtually on Thursday.
Addressing the meeting, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina remarked that many Indian nationals were working in Bangladesh and were enhancing bilateral economic ties. The two leaders jointly inaugurated the Chilahati-Haldibari rail link which is the fifth rail link between the two countries.
Bangladesh is a major pillar of our neighbourhood first policy and it has been a special priority for me from Day 1 to strengthen our relations with Bangladesh. Today I pay my respect to the martyrs of our both sides who sacrificed their lives during the 1971 war which marked our victory against the anti-Liberation forces, Mr. Modi said. He also greeted Bangladesh for the celebration of centenary of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.
Mr. Modi reiterated that removal of obstacles to land connectivity and growing trade had changed the texture of Indo-Bangladesh relationship. The two leaders remotely launched the rail link between Haldibari in West Bengal with Chilahati in Bangladesh. It was last operational in 1965 and is being restarted now. Upgradation works of the old rail lines were carried out by the rail authorities on both sides before the inauguration.
The two sides also concluded seven agreements covering areas such as hydrocarbon cooperation, High Impact Community Development Projects, elephant conservation, solid waste management, agriculture, and terms of reference of India-Bangladesh CEOs forum. An agreement between the National Museum of India and Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman Memorial Museum in Dhaka was also declared.
Our relations have embarked on a landmark moment. Bangladesh has stepped into the 50th year of its independence. Our relations is also stepping into the 50th year. We have chalked out programmes for the entire coming year that will jointly mark our collaboration in the Liberation War, Ms. Hasina, who pointed out that despite the pandemic during the previous months, both sides had worked together to ensure connectivity and trade remain uninterrupted.
Ms. Hasina expressed satisfaction over the interconnection between the economies of India and Bangladesh, saying, A good number of Indians are employed in service and manufacturing sector in Bangladesh and are remittance earners for India. On the other hand, India receives its highest number of tourists and medical patients from Bangladesh. I believe both our countries can move up the global and regional value chain further integrating our economies and taking advantage of our synergies.

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