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India, Bangladesh vow to jointly combat terrorism, extremism

India and Bangladesh have reaffirmed their strong commitment to combating and preventing the spread of terrorism, violent extremism, and radicalization in the region and beyond, and have decided to strengthen their cooperation in this regard.

Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina arrived in India on Monday for a four-day visit. She met with her Indian counterpart Narendra Modi and discussed various bilateral issues, according to a joint statement issued by the Ministry of External Affairs on Wednesday.

Both prime ministers held a restricted meeting and tete-a-tete, followed by delegation-level talks on Tuesday.

India and Bangladesh have agreed to collaborate in new areas such as environment, climate change, cyber security, information and communication technology, space technology, green energy, and the blue economy.

The incidents of Indian border security forces shooting and killing Bangladeshi people near the border were also discussed. Odhikar, a local human rights organization based in Bangladesh, claimed in its latest report that Indian forces have killed over 1,200 Bangladeshis across the border over the last two decades, the majority of whom were unarmed civilians.

“Noting with satisfaction that the number of deaths due to incidents along the border has significantly reduced, both sides agreed to work towards bringing the number down to zero. Both sides noted with appreciation the stepped up efforts by the two border guarding forces against smuggling of arms, narcotics and fake currency and to prevent trafficking, particularly of women and children,” the statement said.

“The two leaders appreciated the growth in bilateral trade, with India emerging as the largest export destination for Bangladesh in Asia,” the statement said, adding that the Bangladesh side requested from India a predictable supply of essential food commodities such as rice, wheat, sugar, onion, ginger, and garlic.

The Indian side conveyed that Bangladesh’s requests will be favorably considered based on prevalent supply conditions in the country and that all efforts will be made in this regard, it added.

Sheikh Hasina also called on Indian President Droupadi Murmu and Vice President Jagdeep Dhankhar.

Hasina also launched the “Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman Student Scholarship” for 200 descendants of Indian Armed Forces personnel killed or critically injured during the Liberation War of Bangladesh in 1971.

The two leaders expressed satisfaction with the excellent state of bilateral relations, which are based on deep historical and fraternal ties, as well as shared values of democracy and pluralism, and are reflected in an all-encompassing bilateral partnership based on sovereignty, equality, trust, and understanding that transcends even a strategic partnership, the statement said.

The Indian side requested that the interim water sharing agreement on the Feni River be signed as soon as possible, citing Tripura’s pressing irrigation needs. The Indian request was noted by the Bangladeshi side.

Both leaders reviewed the progress made on the India-Bangladesh Friendship Pipeline, which will help Bangladesh meet its energy needs.

Bangladesh has also asked India to assist it in meeting its domestic demand for petroleum products. The Indian side agreed to facilitate discussions between both sides’ authorized agencies.

India and Bangladesh on Tuesday signed seven Memorandums of Understanding and launched work on five projects, including energy and railroads.