Bheremara (Kushtia): Indian Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh on Saturday assured Bangladesh that India would remain as its steadfast and long-term partner in its development efforts as India wants to see a strong and prosperous Bangladesh.
“We’re committed to completing the tasks we’ve agreed upon in a manner that responds to be mutual aspirations of both our people,” he said.
The Indian premier came up with the remark through a videoconference as he along with Sheikh Hasina jointly inaugurated the Bangladesh-India power transmission centre from Bheramara, Kushtia in a bid to usher in a new horizon in regional power trade.
They also unveiled the plaque of foundation stone of Maitree Super Thermal Power Project (Rampal 1320 MW coal based power plant).
Dr Manmohan Singh also looked forward with confidence to a future of deeper cooperation in energy and all other dimensions of bilateral relationships of the two countries.
He said that the initiative that they took during Hasina’s historic visit to India in January 2010 came true today.
The Indian premier said the transmission line and the HVDC station in Bheramara provide a safe and reliable interconnection of the power grids of our two countries, which will enable supply of 500 MW of power from India to Bangladesh.
“A shared aspiration of our people has been translated into a concrete outcome. I would, therefore, like to congratulate you, your colleagues and the people of Bangladesh for this extraordinary accomplishment,” he said.
The Indian Prime Minister also thanked his cabinet colleagues, technical personnel and officials at the Centre and in the State Government of West Bengal for implementing this landmark project in South Asia in such a short span of time.
About the laying of the foundation stone for the 1320 MW Maitri Thermal Power Project being developed by the Bangladesh-India Friendship Power Company, which is a joint venture of India’s NTPC Ltd and the Bangladesh Power Development Board, Manmohan called upon the project authorities to observe the highest environmental standards in its execution, given that the Sundarbans are the common heritage.
“The initiatives being undertaken today strengthen the bonds of friendship between India and Bangladesh and add a rich new dimension to our bilateral relations,” he said.
Mentioning that economic development is the biggest challenge for all countries in South Asia, Dr Manmohan said, “Our destinies are inter-linked and so must our economies be. I have always believed - and I believe Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina shares my conviction - that the prospects for economic development in South Asia will be substantially enhanced through a partnership for shared prosperity between the countries of the region.”
He said that the key to shared prosperity is greater trade and investment in the region and improved connectivity through transport, road, rail, telecom and cyber and energy links. “Today’s inauguration represents an important milestone in connecting our two countries and the broader region through a growing web of cross-border energy links and trade,” he said.
Lauding the significant progress that Bangladesh has made under the distinguished leadership of Sheikh Hasina, including in the area of energy security, Dr Manmohan said Bangladesh is one of the fastest growing economies in South Asia and its achievements in meeting the Millennium Development Goals stand as an example for the rest of the world.
“India wishes to see a strong and prosperous Bangladesh. I assure you that India will remain a steadfast and long-term partner in your development efforts,” he added.
The Indian Prime Minister also thanked his Bangladesh counterpart for strengthening mutually beneficial relations between the two countries.
“The Framework Agreement on Cooperation for Development that we signed in Dhaka in 2011 provides the template for our cooperation in the future. In the past few years, our cooperation has made rapid progress in many areas,” he said.
He went, “We do recognize that we have to make progress in other areas. We’re committed to completing the tasks we had agreed upon in a manner that responds to the mutual aspirations of both our peoples.”
Noting that the people of India and Bangladesh have always been good neighbours, the Indian Prime Minister said, “In recent years, we’ve shown that we can pursue cooperative endeavours to harness the boundless economic potential of our relationship based on the principles of equality, sovereignty and mutual prosperity,”
“I look forward with confidence to a future of deeper cooperation in energy and all other dimensions of our relationship. And I convey to you, Madam Prime Minister and, through you, to the people of Bangladesh my best wishes for success in all your endeavours for national development and prosperity,” he added.