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Bangladesh, India sign oil pipeline deal

Dhaka, April 9: Bangladesh and India signed an agreement here on Monday on their proposed 129.5 km oil pipeline aimed at pumping Indian oil to Bangladesh with a capacity of 1 million tonnes per annum. The deal was part of the six memorandum of understandings (MoUs) which Dhaka and New Delhi signed during a meeting between their Foreign Secretaries at State Guesthouse Padma in the capital, Xinhua news agency reported. Indian Foreign Secretary Vijay Keshav Gokhale arrived here on Sunday to hold talks with senior Bangladeshi officials on a host of bilateral and regiol issues. “Today, we add another six documents to our large and growing list of meaningful agreements signed during the recent visits of Prime Minister rendra Modi to Bangladesh and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasi to India,” said Gokhale after the signing of the documents. The documents included the implementation MoU on the friendship pipeline between Numaligarh and Parbatipur, an MoU on cooperation between Prasar Bharati and Bangladesh Betar, an MoU for setting up an ICCR Urdu Chair in Dhaka University and an Addendum to the GCNEP-BAEC Interagency Agreement, bdnews24.com reported. Both sides also signed two more MoUs for projects whereby they will set up language labs in 500 schools in Bangladesh and upgrade different roads in Rangpur city.

From 2008-09, the bilateral trade almost tripled from $2.75 billion to $7.52 billion in 2016-17. Gokhale called Bangladesh “India’s biggest trade partner in South Asia”. Talking about the energy and power sector, Gokhale said India was currently supplying 660 MW of power to Bangladesh and they were on course to add at least 500 MW more by June. 
Gokhale also announced the second phase of humanitarian assistance for the Rohingya refugee camps in Bangladesh’s Cox’s Bazar. His Bangladeshi counterpart Shahdiul Haque said they were “happy” over India’s position on the Rohingya refugee issue and its progress on the pending Teesta water sharing deal. Haque said the two discussed all aspects of the relations between the two tions, including the pending Teesta water sharing issue, and was “delighted” regarding the outcome. Gokhale is expected to meet the Bangladeshi leadership including Prime Minister Sheikh Hasi and Foreign Minister A.H. Mahmood Ali on April 10 before returning home. (IANS)

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Ankur Kalita