B'desh PM pitches for more trade channels with India
Bangladesh is looking to open more trade channels with India, widen footprint of border haats and open up routes that were closed during the 1965 war, visiting Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said on Monday. Observing that nothing is solved by confrontation but friendship is the solution to all problems, she said the two nations have been able to establish "profound mutual trust and exemplary friendship" over the years.
India and Bangladesh have been unable to finalise the long-pending Teesta water-sharing agreement, primarily due to opposition by West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee. Hasina, who is on a four-day visit to India, urged Indian industry houses to invest in Bangladesh, especially in infrastructure projects, power and energy, transport, manufacturing, food and agricultural processing sectors.
She said the Indian business community can take full advantage of Bangladesh's steady economic growth, high demographic dividend, low business cost and large consumer base, noting that "to facilitate further investments, a 'One Stop Service Act' is currently being finalised".
Hasina also witnessed the signing of pacts worth over USD 9 billion by companies from India and Bangladesh aimed at deepening partnership in sectors like power and oil and gas.
Speaking in Bengali, the Bangladeshi Prime Minister took a potshot at her opposition parties, saying there were charges that she was going to sell off the country to India.
Observing that economic conditions of South Asia should improve, she termed poverty as the common enemy of both India and Bangladesh and called for a joint fight "to ensure a better life for our people".
She was addressing a meeting organised by business chambers Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (Ficci) and Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry (Assocham) here.
Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan, who was also present on the occasion, invoked the shared cultural history of India and Bangladesh, and pointed towards his close proximity to Dhaka since he belongs to Odisha.
"My friends from Bangladesh perhaps did not get Hilsa for me this time. Rice and Hilsa fish is the staple food item of East India and Bangladesh," Pradhan said.
In many ways, this is an exceptional relationship, he said, adding, "Since we share 54 rivers, it is said that a river cuts through a rock, not because of its power but because of its persistence. We have enough goodwill between the nations to persist in nourishing and grooming this relationship for the collective welfare of millions of our people".
Indian, Bangladeshi cos ink pacts worth over $9 billion
Companies from India and Bangladesh on Monday signed pacts worth over $9 billion here aimed at deepening partnership in sectors like power and oil and gas. Among the MoUs signed in the presence of visiting Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is a facility agreement between Bangladesh India Friendship Power Company (BIFPCL) and Exim Bank of India for debt financing for construction of 1,320 mw Maitree Power Project in Rampal in Bangladesh ($1.6 bn). The MoUs include an implementation and PPA between Reliance Power and the Ministry of Power, Energy and Mineral Resources for the first phase (718 mw) of the 3,000 mw power project at Meghnaghat, entailing $1 billion.
RPower signs deals for phase I of 750-mw Bangla project
Reliance Power today said it has signed agreements with Bangladesh Power Development Board (BPDP) for phase I of 750 MW LNG power project at Meghnaghat near Dhaka entailing an investment of around USD 1 billion. "Reliance Power today executed project agreements with Bangladesh Power Development Board (BPDB) for phase I of 750 MW LNG power project at Meghnaghat, near Dhaka in Bangladesh," Reliance Power said in statement. According to statement, these agreements include Power Purchase Agreement and Implementation Agreement for the proposed integrated combined cycle power project.