Prime Minister Narendra Modi, his Bangladesh counterpart Sheikh Hasina, Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and Biplab Kumar Deb, Chief Minister of Tripura, have jointly inaugurated three projects for Bangladesh via video conference. External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and her Bangladesh counterpart also joined the video conference from Delhi and Dhaka respectively on Monday .These are (a) 500 MW additional power supply from India to Bangladesh through the existing Brahmanbaria (Bangladesh) – Baharampur (India) interconnection, (b) Akhaura – Agartala Rail Link (c) Rehabilitation of the Kulaura-Shahbazpur section of Bangladesh Railways.
Speaking on the occasion, PM Modi said recalled that he had met Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina several times in the recent past, including at the BIMSTEC meeting in Kathmandu, in Shanti Niketan, and during the Commonwealth Summit in London.He 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 the Bangladesh Prime Minister. Prime Minister Modi said Sheikh Hasina’s vision is for restoring connectivity between her country and India as it existed before 1965. He said that he is happy that in the last few years, there has been steady progress towards this goal. He said that today, we have increased our power connectivity, and started two projects to increase our railway connectivity. He recalled that during his visit to Bangladesh in 2015, it had been decided to supply an additional 500 MW power to Bangladesh. He said this is being done using the transmission link between West Bengal and Bangladesh, and thanked the Chief Minister of West Bengal, Ms. Mamata Banerjee for her facilitation in completion of this work. He said that with the completion of this project, 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 that 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 Modi appreciated Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina envisioned development goals of transforming Bangladesh into a middle income country by 2021, and a developed country by 2041. He said that closer relations and people to people links between the two countries would take our development and prosperity to new heights. A few days ago I met Sheikh Hasina at the time of the BIMSTEC Summit in Kathmandu. Before that we also met in Shantiniketan in May and in London during the Commonwealth Summit in April. PM Modi said I’m glad you got a chance to be once again through the video conference today. PM Modi said apart from many meetings this is our fourth video conference, and there will be another video conference in the near future. The biggest thing about these video conferences is that we do not like the VIP visits to launch or inaugurate the projects of cooperation between the two countries. Whenever we talk of connectivity, I always feel the vision of restoring the connectivity prior to 1965.And it is a matter of great happiness for me that we have been taking steps in this direction in the last few years. Today, we have increased our power connectivity, and we have started two projects to deepen the Railway Connectivity. When I came to Bangladesh in 2015, we decided to supply 500 megawatt of additional power to Bangladesh. And for this, the transmission link from Bangladesh is being used in West Bengal. I congratulate the Chief Minister Ms. Mamata Banerjee for supporting this work. With the completion of this project, 1.16 Gigawatts power is being supplied to India from Bangladesh. I understand that this quantum jump of Gigawatts from megawatt is a symbol of the Sonali chapter of our relationships. Our connectivity is also increasing in the field of railways. In this, internal connectivity of Bangladesh, and connectivity with India, are key aspects of our cooperation. Once the connectivity of Akhaura-Agartala is completed, another link will be added to our cross-border connectivity. I congratulate Chief Minister Bipal Kumar Deb for his cooperation in this project. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has set ambitious targets for Bangladesh’s development by 2021. We are blessed to support her endeavour to help Bangladesh become a middle income country. I have full confidence that as we enhance our relations and strengthen relationships between people of the two neighbouring nations, we will touch new skies of growth and prosperity, Biplab Kumar Deb said.