India, Bangladesh sign 22 agreements in various sectors

This was announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi during a joint media event with his visiting Bangladesh counterpart Sheikh Hasina here on Saturday.

Modi's emphasis on the current governments in both countries resolving the Teesta pact was also a signal to Bangladesh, officials said, that India viewed Hasina as the only partner there with whom it could realistically hope to seal the tricky agreement.

Both the countries inked a pact on the defence cooperation framework apart from signing an agreement for extending defence Line of Credit (LOC) of United States dollars 500 million.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday offered $4.5 billion in concessional loans to Bangladesh, underlining surging ties between the neighbours, but a contentious water-sharing deal remained elusive.

On Teesta river water sharing issue, Mr Modi expressed firm belief that only his government and government of Sheikh Hasina can and will find an early solution to Teesta Water Sharing.

State-run Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha news agency reported that two premiers, she said, discussed the issues of water resources management including sharing of water of common rivers like Teesta, the Padma-Ganges Barrage Project and basin-wise management of the trans-boundary streams. "Without being selfish, we have wished good for the entire region", Modi said. "In implementing this line of credit, we will be guided by Bangladesh's needs and priorities", he said. "India's development alone is incomplete and we can't even imagine that we will go forth and succeed alone in this region".

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The countries also agreed on an inter-agency agreement between Global Centre for Nuclear Energy Partnership (GCNEP), India and Bangladesh Atomic Energy Commission (BAEC) on cooperation in nuclear power plant projects in Bangladesh.

Modi recalled the sacrifice of 1,661Indian soldiers, who lost their lives in liberating Bangladesh, while lauding Dhaka for cooperating with Delhi in combating terrorism.

He expressed greatest admiration for Sheikh Hasina's "zero-tolerance" policy to deal with terrorism.

India and Bangladesh are a victim of that "mindset" which encourages terrorism, he said. The supply of another 500 Mega Watt has already been committed from the existing inter-connection. Both the leaders are expected to ink over 20 agreements ranging from ICT to defence cooperation during the visit.

Two bus services from Kolkata to Khulna and a train service will also be started and there will be enhanced security arrangements along the highly-porous border between the two countries.

Modi added "Steps are being taken to put into operation the coastal shipping agreement".

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Modi said India was happy to receive the high powered business delegation accompanying the Bangladesh premier.

On Sunday morning, Sheikh Hasina will visit Ajmer Sharif, the "dargah" of Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti, and offer prayers before returning to New Delhi in the afternoon.

The two countries have had a close relationship since 1971, when Bangladesh, aided by India, gained independence from Pakistan following a bloody nine-month war.

Hasina arrived in New Delhi on Friday at the start of a four day visit.

New Delhi and Dhaka have agreed to jointly produce a documentary film on the Liberation War of Bangladesh.

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