Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen on Monday said leaders of Bangladesh and India pledged on the noble vision of inclusive socioeconomic development, scripting a golden chapter in partnership over the past few years.
"Over the last few years, India and Bangladesh have scripted a golden chapter in partnership under the visionary leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi," he said.
In a virtual handing over ceremony, 10 broad gauge (BG) locomotives were virtually flagged off to Bangladesh by Indian External Affairs Minister Dr S Jaishankar and Minister of Railways and Commerce & Industry Piyush Goyal.
Bangladesh Railways Minister Md Nurul Islam Sujan and Indian Minister of State for Railways Angadi Suresh also joined.
Dr Momen thanked India for offering Bangladesh 10 broad gauge diesel locomotives as a mark of enduring friendship.
This is in line with the commitment by New Delhi during Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s visit to India last October and renewed focus on ”neighbourhood first” policy of Modi.
"This would help bring our two peoples even closer," the Foreign Minister said at the handing over ceremony of 10 broad gauge locomotives provided by India.
Indian Minister for External Affairs, Minister for Railways of India, Railways Minister of Bangladesh, Secretary, Ministry of Railways of Bangladesh, Bangladesh High Commissioner to India Muhammad Imran and Indian High Commissioner to Bangladesh Riva Ganguly Das also joined.
"We are indeed enjoying the best of relations," Dr Momen said mentioning that this week, for the first time, 50 containers loaded with FMCG cargoes and fabrics arrived in Bangladesh from India through Benapole-Petrapole rail link.
Last week, the first transshipment of goods (iron and pulses) from Kolkata to India’s North-East took place though Bangladesh’s Chattogram port.
Dr Momen said India-Bangladesh relationship is rock solid and is based on shared values, principles and confidence; touching almost every sphere of our lives, including politics, culture, trade, investment, water, energy, power, transportation, logistics, security and much more.
"I am sure we would be able to further lift our relations to new heights in the coming days," he said.
Dr Momen said they believe “connectivity is productivity” and visionary Prime Minister has been trying to expand our connectivity in roads, rail, river routes and heart to heart with our neighbours.
In fact, robust railway connectivity is an enabler of connectivity, an enabler of economic growth, a platform for uniform development and a catalyst for national integration, he said.
Its bulk capacity to traverse long distances with ease and lower unit costs, is further bolstered by safety and dependability, said the Foreign Minister.
In a fast changing world, swept by unforeseen challenges such as the Covid-19 pandemic, they cannot take a piecemeal view of the contours of connectivity.
The Foreign Minister said Bangladesh is also very much part of the UN ESCAP Trans-Asian Railway network, SAARC railway corridors, SASEC railway corridor and BCIM Economic Corridor.
"As we stretch our eyes to capture the bigger picture on this vast canvas, we will pursue the path of shared prosperity through planned and sustainable development of our transport infrastructure – a network that would reach out to the farthest corners of the country, live up to the people’s expectations, and be able to cater to their needs," he said.
Connectivity in the region will unpack numerous opportunities for the people of South Asia, said the Foreign Minister.
"No longer do they deserve a substandard living. The resulting benefits of connectivity ought to permeate all strata of the society as fairly as possible," he said.
The prospect remains limitless, Dr Momen said adding that "We are happy that India partners with Bangladesh in this endeavour."
Growing Railway Cooperation
The handing over of these locomotives, under grant assistance from India, fulfills an important commitment made during the visit of Sheikh Hasina to India, in October 2019, said the Indian High Commission in Dhaka.
In keeping with the requirements of Bangladesh Railway, the locomotives have been suitably modified by the Indian side.
These locomotives will help handle the increasing volume of passenger and freight train operations in Bangladesh.
Speaking on the occasion, External Affairs Minister Dr Jaishankar highlighted the depth of time tested India-Bangladesh ties, based on mutual trust and respect.
He expressed his happiness that the COVID-19 pandemic had not slowed down the pace of bilateral cooperation and conveyed that he looked forward to more such milestones in the ongoing historic Mujib Barsho.
Piyush Goyal underscored the significance of railway cooperation in enhancing bilateral trade and connectivity and in further boosting the economic partnership between the two countries.
In the recent times, India and Bangladesh have stepped up their rail cooperation in mitigating the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, as trade via land border faced disruptions.
Rail as a cost effective and environmental friendly solution, has helped in transporting essential commodities across the border. Both sides saw the highest ever exchange of freight trains in the month of June.
A total of 103 freight trains were utilised for carrying essential commodities and raw materials.
Recently, parcel and container train services have also commenced between India and Bangladesh.
This is expected to significantly enhance the scope of bilateral trade.
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State Minister for Information and Communication Technology Zunaid Ahmed Palak on Monday said they would build Natore as a role model of development.
"In this endeavour, our friendly neighbour India will continue to stand by our side in the coming days," he said while jointly inaugurating the reconstruction of Sree Sree JoyKali Matar Temple, Natore virtually with Indian High Commissioner to Bangladesh Riva Ganguly Das.
Md Shafiqul Islam MP and Mayor of Natore Uma Choudhury Jolly also joined the virtual inauguration.
Palak said that taking advantage of Bangladesh's progress in the software industry India will further expand its area of cooperation with Bangladesh in the near future.
Riva Ganguly said they are pleased to have supported the renovation of one of the oldest temples of Bangladesh, the Sree Sree JoyKali Matar Temple in Natore.
"India continues to be a committed partner of Bangladesh in preservation of our shared heritage and culture which further strengthens our people-to-people relations," she said.
An MoU for the re-construction of Sree Sree JoyKali Matar Temple at Lalbazar was signed on October 23, 2016.
The project was executed by the Sree Sree JoyKali Matar Temple Committee with an Indian grant assistance of Tk 97 lakh and a total cost of Tk 1.33 crore under the High Impact Community Development Project (HICDP) Scheme of Government of India.
Sree Sree JoyKali Matar temple is approximately 300 years old and is one of the oldest temples situated in Natore.
It was built around the beginning of 18th century by Shri Dayaram Roy (1680-1760), the influential Dewan of Queen Bhahani (1716-1795) of Natore and the founder of Dighapatia Royal Family.
Various religious festivals such as Durga and Kali Puja are celebrated with great zeal and enthusiasm every year. The compound of the temple also houses Lord Shiva temple.
The completion of the project is an example of India’s efforts in preservation of the ancient monuments and heritage of Bangladesh’s history, culture and tradition.
High Impact Community Development Projects (HICDPs), under grant funding from Government of India, constitutes an active pillar of India’s development assistance to Bangladesh which directly benefits and has a positive impact on the local community.
In the past, support under HICDP has also been extended to various projects in Rajshahi Division such as construction of Ramakrishna Temple and other structures, construction of two storied Adibasi Shagshoil School & Niamatpur Girls’ Hostel, Small Developments Projects at Rajshahi City Corporation, Restoration of Sree Sree Anandomoyee Kali Mata Mandir, Construction of ground floor and first floor and other structure of Mahiganj Girls’ High School and college among others.
A container train service was launched at Benapole land port on Sunday, in an effort to expedite export-import trade between Bangladesh and India.
Azizur Rahman, commissioner of Benapole Customs House (BCH), inaugurated the container train service. On the first day, a train comprising 50 containers entered Bangladesh through the land port around 12pm.
The BCH authority drew the attention of the National Board of Revenue (NBR) to mismanagement of syndicate members at Benapole and exorbitant serial charge at the Indian side and urged to launch a container train service there.
Responding to the proposal, the NBR allowed launching container train service and informed the Indian Commerce Ministry over the issue in a letter.
India welcomed the move and made necessary arrangements.
Mofizur Rahman Sujan, president of C&F agents association at the port, the trade relations between two neighbouring countries will gain momentum thanks to the initiative.
If a container terminal is set up at Benapole port, the export-import trade through will be two times higher, causing a hike in the revenue flow to the government treasury, he added.
Benapole Customs Commissioner Azizur Rahman also came up with the same remarks.
The landport entered into a new era thanks to the initiative, he added.
Biman Bangladesh Airlines has decided to resume its flight operation to Kuwait from August 4.
Decision has been taken to operate weekly one scheduled commercial flight on Dhaka-Kuwait-Dhaka route on every Tuesday from August 4, said Biman’s spokesperson Tahera Khondokar.
Intending travellers are advised to contact helpline number- 01777715613-16.
The national flag carrier is going to resume flight operation to Kuwait as its fourth international destination following London, Dubai and Abu Dhabi.
Earlier on June 21,the national flag carrier resumed flight operations on Dhaka-London-Dhaka.
Then, it opened flights on Dubai and Abu Dhabi from July 13.
On June 16, flight operations on international routes from Bangladesh resumed after three months of suspension due to Covid-19 pandemic.
On June 1, Civil Aviation authority permitted operation of all domestic flights maintaining social distancing and following health guidelines.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina will inaugurate the "Dhaka- OIC Youth Capital 2020" on Monday virtually, connecting youths from OIC countries and beyond.
The Dhaka OIC Youth Capital 2020 will be inaugurated at 4pm with an aim to bring the youth and their spirit together from every corner of the world.
The theme of the mega event is “Parity and Prosperity: For a Resilient Future.”
Secretary General of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) Dr Yousef Al-Othaimeen, Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen, State Minister for Youth and Sports Zahid Ahsan Russel, Youth & Sports Minister of Qatar, Youth and Sports Minister of Azerbaijan and President of Islamic Cooperation Youth Forum (ICYF) Taha Ayhan are expected to join.
Dr Momen said the event will be a great opportunity to project the positive branding of Bangladesh highlighting the brilliant works of the youths and share knowledge among the stakeholders.
"This event will surely infuse a positive energy among youth and bind us into a stronger fraternity," he said.
The convergence of the yearlong events with the grand celebration of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman's birth centenary has amplified its significance to a great extent.
Amid the COVID-19 new normal, the Dhaka OIC Youth Capital 2020 will be followed by the “Resilient Youth Leadership Summit”.
The launching ceremony of this grand event was originally scheduled to be held in Dhaka with the presence of state-level dignitaries, including the Prime Minister of Bangladesh, and influential youths from all over the world on April 12.
The virtual Rohingya camp tour will be one of the segments the "Dhaka OIC Youth Capital 2020" to introduce the displaced persecuted Rohingya community from Myanmar to the global participants.
The virtual tour will help the international community know more about one of the biggest humanitarian crises in recent history and engage with the youth around the world, as well as be empowered by the leaders of the world to bring a sustainable change and prosperity, said the organisers.
It will also help build up a sense of awareness among the youth about the ordeal and struggle of the Rohingya community.
Historical background of the Rohingya crisis, situation in Cox's Bazar Rohingya camp, justice and accountability issues, operational issues, Rohingya camp management will be highlighted in the virtual live interactive session with the persecuted Rohingya community.
Dhaka was announced as the “OIC Youth Capital 2020” marking a significant recognition for the dynamic and determined leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and her spirited Government in the youth sector, according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The Istanbul-based Islamic Cooperation Youth Forum (ICYF), an entity affiliated to the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), made this declaration on December 25, 2019.
The selection of Dhaka as the “OIC Youth Capital 2020” will play a significant role in reflecting a positive brand image of Bangladesh globally, especially among the youth, says the Foreign Ministry.
This declaration of Dhaka as OIC Youth Capital 2020 is also a testimony of overwhelming vitality of the more than 53 million youths of Bangladesh, the ministry said.