Historic Summit: Modi and Hasina’s Game-Changing Agreements Will Reshape South Asia!

On Friday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Bangladeshi counterpart, Sheikh Hasina, engaged in discussions encompassing political and security cooperation. During their meeting, the two nations solidified their collaboration by signing three agreements, one of which focused on integrating their digital payment systems.

This meeting was part of Modi’s ongoing interactions with heads of state and government attending the G20 Summit set to commence in New Delhi on Saturday. Bangladesh had the honor of being among the nine guest countries invited to participate in the G20 process this year, under the Indian presidency.

The one-hour-long meeting between Modi and Hasina at the Indian leader’s official residence delved into various regional matters. These included the imperative of maintaining stability in South Asia and exploring avenues for enhanced cooperation in areas such as security, trade, and energy, as confirmed by individuals familiar with the proceedings.

The two sides sealed three Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs) aimed at bolstering their bilateral cooperation. Among these agreements was one focusing on collaboration in digital payment mechanisms between the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) and the Bangladesh Bank. Another MoU centered on cooperation between the Indian Council of Agricultural Research and the Bangladesh Agriculture Research Council. The third MoU pertained to the renewal of a bilateral cultural exchange program for the years 2023-2025.

Following the meeting, Bangladesh’s Foreign Minister, AK Abdul Momen, emphasized the shared commitment of both nations to regional stability. Speaking in Bengali, he stated, “Regional peace and stability are vital for both countries and for South Asia, and India is on the same page with us.”

Momen also highlighted the importance of Bangladesh’s economic ties with China, emphasizing their focus on economic matters, while characterizing cooperation with India as more strategically oriented.

A statement from the Indian Ministry of External Affairs outlined the comprehensive scope of discussions between Modi and Hasina. Topics included political and security cooperation, border management, trade and connectivity, water resources, power and energy, development cooperation, and people-to-people ties. Additionally, the leaders discussed regional developments and their collaboration in multilateral forums.

Both leaders welcomed significant developments, such as the operationalization of an agreement enabling the use of Chattogram and Mongla ports in Bangladesh for shipping goods to India’s northeastern states, the commissioning of the India-Bangladesh Friendship Pipeline, and the implementation of bilateral trade settlement in Indian rupees.

Modi and Hasina expressed eagerness for the initiation of negotiations on a Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) that would encompass trade in goods and services and promote investments.

Furthermore, the leaders anticipated jointly inaugurating three development projects: the Agartala-Akhaura and Khulna-Mongla rail links, along with the second unit of the Maitri Power Plant.

Modi conveyed his appreciation for Bangladesh’s significant role in hosting over a million people displaced from Myanmar’s Rakhine state. He assured India’s commitment to supporting safe and sustainable repatriation solutions.

In addition to the meeting with Hasina, Prime Minister Modi held bilateral discussions with Prime Minister Pravind Jugnauth of Mauritius, another guest country participating in the G20 format. The leaders reviewed their bilateral cooperation, noting a rapid pace of exchanges in the past year, which included over 30 delegation visits and the signing of 23 agreements.

Looking ahead, Modi is set to hold bilateral meetings with leaders from the United Kingdom, Japan, Germany, Italy, France, Canada, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates, South Korea, the European Union, Brazil, Nigeria, and Comoros during the G20 Summit. These meetings will span across Saturday and Sunday.

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