India, Bangladesh likely to sign nuclear, defence agreements

India will look to lend strategic depth to its ties with Bangladesh with a civil nuclear cooperation pact and an agreement on defence cooperation during the four-day visit of Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to India beginning Friday.

The two pacts are among almost two dozen to be signed between the two countries on Saturday after talks between Hasina and her Indian host Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi. This is Hasina’s first standalone visit in the past seven years, her last bilateral visit to India being in 2010.

According to a Reuters report, India is expected to announce a fresh line of credit worth about $5 billion for infrastructure development, including railways, roads and waterways—something officials in New Delhi did not confirm on Thursday.

“It will be a very, very special visit. We hope the visit will take the ties between the two countries to new level,” Sripriya Ranganathan, joint secretary in the Bangladesh-Myanmar division of external affairs ministry, told reporters. Under the terms of the defence agreement—a rare one between India and its immediate neighbours—India has offered to extend $500 million to Bangladesh for military hardware purchases. This comes after Bangladesh purchased two submarines from India’s strategic rival China in December.

The framework agreement on civil nuclear energy will provide for extensive cooperation including setting up nuclear reactors in Bangladesh by India. Explaining the scope of the nuclear pact, Ranganathan said it would “cover all aspects of generation of civil nuclear energy, cooperation in putting up nuclear plants, issues relating to safety, security—all of that is covered under this. It also has the aspect of capacity building because what we have to offer is the expertise that we have built up over time.


The two Prime Ministers will launch a bus and a train service between India and Bangladesh. The two sides are also likely to finalise an agreement on long-term supply of diesel to Bangladesh besides holding preliminary talks on linking India’s gas grid with that of Bangladesh. A long-awaited pact on the sharing of the waters of the river Teesta, however, was not expected to be signed during Hasina’s visit. That “remains a work in progress… We have not reached a closure on it,” Ranganathan said.

By: Live Mint 

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