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Modi, Hasina discuss security

Santiniketan, May 25: The Prime Ministers of India and Bangladesh on Friday discussed a number of bilateral issues, including security and politics, in the sylvan surroundings of the Visva-Bharati University here founded by Nobel Laureate poet Rabindranath Tagore – the composer of both countries’ national anthems.
The half-hour talks were preceded by two events – the 49th convocation of the university, as also the inauguration of the Bangladesh Bhawan on its campus by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Bangladesh counterpart Sheikh Hasina.
The two leaders, accompanied by West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, spent over three hours at this campus housing the university and located in Birbhum sub-division of West Bengal’s Birbhum district, 160 km from Kolkata.
He mentioned the Land Boundary Agreement and the resolution of the sea border dispute, saying “complex bilateral issues which seemed impossible to be resolved even some time back, have been solved now. In roads, rail, waterways, coastal shipping, we are moving fast in the areas of connectivity.”
On the other hand, Hasina paid glowing tributes to India, and its then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi for its role during her Bangladesh’s liberation struggle, and the shelter that she provided to her after the assassination of her father Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman – the leader of the Bangladesh liberation war and first president of independent Bangladesh.
She also expressed happiness over the two countries implementing the LBA, after the Indian parliament “unanimously passed the bill concerned”, and thanked Modi and Banerjee.
Asked about the talks at the Bangladesh Bhawan after the inauguration ceremony, a Bangladesh minister said bilateral issues were discussed.
“I was not there when they held the talks. But, suffice to say bilateral issues, issues related to regional security and politics were discussed,” said Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Mohammed Shahriar Alam.
On Hasina seeking cooperation from everybody to put pressure on Myanmar to take back the 1.1 million Rohingya refugees, who have taken shelter in Bangladesh, he said his country was on the “same page” with India on the issue.
He said track two dialogue was on regarding the Teesta water sharing issue.
“We always want to walk together as neighbours. There can be issues between neighbouring countries,” she said in the presence of Banerjee, known for her firm opposition to the treaty.
“We have resolved many issues. Maybe there are a few left. I don’t want to raise the issue and spoil this beautiful function. But I do hope whatever the problem is, it can be solved amicably,” Hasina said.
Both Modi and Hasina repeatedly referred to the shared cultural ties between the two nations, with Tagore coming up repeatedly in their speeches.
Praising Hasina and the people of Bangladesh “from my heart”, Modi referred to the country launching its first satellite ‘Bangabandhu’.
He said India was now using space technology to improve the standard of living of the poor and introduce more transparency and exuded confidence the sector will open new vistas of cooperation with Bangladesh. (IANS)