Dhaka, Sept 10 (UNB) – Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday appreciated Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s development goals of transforming Bangladesh into a middle income country by 2021 and a developed one by 2041.
“Closer relations and people-to-people links between the two countries would take our development and prosperity to new heights,” he said while addressing a function to dedicate three projects in Bangladesh.
Modi reiterated his view that leaders of neighbouring countries should have a relationship like neighbours, talking and visiting frequently, without getting bogged down by protocol.
He said this closeness is evident in the frequent interactions between him and Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.
He recalled Bangladesh Sheikh Hasina’s vision of restoring connectivity to the way it was before 1965 and said he is happy that there has been steady progress towards this goal in the last few years.
“Today, we’ve increased our power connectivity, and started two projects to increase our railway connectivity,” he said.
During his visit to Bangladesh in 2015, Modi recalled, it had been decided to supply an additional 500 MW of power to Bangladesh, according to a copy of his speech that UNB obtained from New Delhi.
He said this is being done using the transmission link between West Bengal and Bangladesh and thanked the Chief Minister of West Bengal Mamata Banerjee for her facilitation in completion of this work.
With the completion of this project, Modi said, 1.16 Gigawatts of power is now being supplied from India to Bangladesh.
He said this journey from megawatts to Gigawatts is symbolic of a golden era in the relations between India and Bangladesh.
The Prime Minister said the Akhaura-Agartala rail connectivity will provide another link in the cross-border connectivity between the two countries. He thanked the Chief Minister of Tripura, Shri Biplab Kumar Deb, for his facilitation in completion of this work.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, her Indian counterpart Modi, Chief Minister of West Bengal Mamata Banerjee and the Chief Minister of Tripura Biplab Kumar Deb jointly inaugurated three projects in Bangladesh, via video conference.
Foreign Minister AH Mahmood Ali and External Affairs Minister of India SushmaSwaraj also joined the videoconference from Dhaka and Delhi respectively.
These include 500 MW additional power supply from India to Bangladesh, through the existing Bheramara (Bangladesh) - Baharampur (India) interconnection, Akhaura–Agartala Rail Link and Rehabilitation of the Kulaura-Shahbazpur section of Bangladesh Railways.
Speaking on the occasion, the Indian Prime Minister recalled that he had met Sheikh Hasina several times in the recent past, including at the Bimstec meeting in Kathmandu, in Santiniketan, and during the Commonwealth Summit in London.
Dhaka, Sept 10 (UNB) – Indian Minister of Commerce and Industry Civil Aviation Suresh Prabhu will arrive here on September 23 on a three-day visit to discuss trade and other bilateral issues between the two countries.
“The Indian Commerce Minister will be here on September 23 and return home on September 25. We’ll have a bilateral meeting at state guesthouse where we’ll discuss border haat issues in details,” Commerce Minister Tofail Ahmed told parliament on Monday.
While responding to a supplementary question from Nabi Newaz (Jhenaidah-3), he said there is a plan to take Indian Minister to Tofail’s constituency as he desires to visit rural areas.
On opening more border haats, the Commerce Minister said Bangladesh cannot do it alone and it will have to be done through mutual discussions with India.
“Though discussions, we’ll have to find out suitable places,” he said adding that the idea of opening border haat along Bangladesh-India border turned a successful one.
Responding to another question, the Commerce Minister said the government has taken multiple steps to diversify products and export market and Bangladesh will be able to export US$ 60 billion by 2021.
He said Bangladesh is in negotiations with friendly countries to sign free trade agreements to have stronger trade ties.
Minister Tofail also said Bangladesh is getting ready to face trade challenges as Bangladesh will no more enjoy trade benefits like Generalised Scheme of Preferences (GSP) or Everything but Arms (EBA) in the European market once Bangladesh reaches the next stage of development.
In the last 10 years, he said, Bangladesh’s export turned US$ 37 billion from US$ 14 billion.
The Commerce Minister said the government has taken an initiative to export herbal products in large volumes.
Dhaka, Sept 10 (UNB) - The inaugural military field training exercise for the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi Sectoral Technological and Economic Cooperation (Bimstec) nations named MILEX-18 started with a grand opening ceremony at Aundh Military Station, India on Monday.
Contingents of the member nations came together for the opening ceremony of the MILEX-18 that will continue till September 18, according to Press Information Bureau (PIB), India.
The parade was commanded by Captain Gaurav Sharma, who is part of the participating Indian contingent.
The contingents marched together smartly at the Drill Ground of Aundh Military Station. Major General Sanjeev Sharma, General Officer Commanding, Golden Katar Division, chief guest for the opening ceremony, reviewed the parade, in presence of number of officers and officials of participating nations.
During the parade there was also a fly past of army aviation helicopters who carried the national flags of the member nations.
The General Officer Commanding interacted with the contingents after the completion of the parade.
The members of all participating nations also interacted and familiarised with each other after the opening ceremony.
The aim of the forthcoming exercise is to practice the Bimstec Nations in planning and conduct of counter terrorist operations.
The exercise schedule is focused upon learning of best practices, team building and special tactical level operations in a counter-terrorist environment in semi urban setting. The inaugural edition of the Bimstec MILEX-18 was carried out in all military grandeur, razor edge precision and with complete sanctity that a military parade should display.
Bangladesh, India, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Bhutan, and Nepal are among the countries dependent on the Bay of Bengal.
Dhaka, Sept 10 (UNB) - Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, her Indian counterpart Narendra Modi and West Bengal Chief Minister (CM) Mamata Banerjee on Monday jointly inaugurated the HVDC (2nd Block) Station at Bheramara in Kushtia through video conferrence.
The power station has been set up for the import of additional 500MW of power from India by Bangladesh.
The Bangladesh and Indian Prime Ministers also jointly inaugurated the rehabilitation of Kulaura- Shahbazpur section of Bangladesh Railway.
Besides, the Bangladesh and Indian PMs and Tripura CM Biplab Kumar Dey jointly inaugurated the construction work on Akhaura-Agartala dual gauge railway link (Bangladesh portion).
Dhaka, Sept 10 (UNB) - The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the government of Bangladesh on Monday signed agreements for $350 million in loan and $7.5 million in grant for a project to develop two power lines in support of Bangladesh’s national target of electricity for all by 2021.
Economic Relations Division (ERD) Secretary Kazi Shofiqul Azam and ADB Country Director Manmohan Parkash signed the agreements at a ceremony in the city on behalf of Bangladesh and ADB respectively.
In addition to a $350 million ADB loan, the assistances comprise a $7 million grant from the Japan Fund for the Joint Crediting Mechanism (JFJCM), which will finance new high-technology energy efficient conductors.
Another $500,000 grant from the Republic of Korea e-Asia and Knowledge Partnership Fund (EAKPF) will promote socially inclusive growth with gender equality, according to the ADB.
“Bangladesh’s power sector has rapidly grown in recent years, but more investments are needed to meet the rising electricity demand in a fast-growing economy,” said Country Director Manmohan Parkash.
The ADB assistance aims to underpin the current impressive pace of growth and development by making power generation, transmission and distribution systems more efficient, reliable, and environmentally friendly, Parkash said.
"The project will promote business expansion, and create employment opportunities for local communities, including poor and socially disadvantaged people in southern and western zones of Bangladesh,” Parkash added.
The Southwest Transmission Grid Expansion Project builds on ADB’s previous work in the Bangladesh power sector, including the recently approved Rupsha 800 megawatt Combine Cycle Power Plant in Khulna, to address deficiencies in the transmission system through providing more efficient power transfer to the load centers of the southern and western zones.
The project will develop a 126-km long 230 kilovolt (kV) transmission line from Barishal to Faridpur; and a 104-km long 400kV transmission line from Bagura to Rohanpur, along with substations, transformers, and associated extensions and connections.
The new transmission lines will introduce to Bangladesh a new type of high temperature conductor to allow more power transfer at lower energy losses.
These have less resistance to power flow, higher power transferring capacity, and operate more reliably in tropical weather. In addition, the use of these conductors also helps minimise right-of-way requirements.
The project is also contributing to climate change mitigation, since the new conductors reduce carbon dioxide emissions compared to conventional transmission conductors that are used in Bangladesh, said the ADB.
This climate change mitigation accounts for $93 million of the investment, comprising $86 million from the ADB loan and $7 million from the JFJCM grant.
Under the EAKPF grant, the project will enhance capacity, particularly emphasising inclusive development and gender equality, through a university programme relevant to the energy sector, supporting 50 university students, of which at least 40 percent are women; and 30 staff from Power Grid Company of Bangladesh Limited, of which at least 30 percent are women.
The project is due for completion in June 2023.