Statement comes in backdrop of increased incidents of killings of Bangladesh nationals in 2020
Criminal activities are responsible for the killings along the India-Bangladesh border, according to External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar.
At a joint press conference with his Bangladesh counterpart, A.K. Abdul Momen, in Dhaka on Thursday, Mr. Jaishankar said India was partnering with the neighbouring country in economic and health-related recovery in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Every death is regrettable but we also have to ask ourselves why is there a problem, and the problem is because of crime. So our shared objective should be a no crime-no death border and I am sure if we can get it right, we can address this problem effectively,” said Mr. Jaishankar, adding that several of the reported deaths [of Bangladesh nationals] “are fairly deep inside India”.
The Indian statement comes in the backdrop of increased incidents of killings of Bangladesh nationals in 2020. Dhaka Tribune, in a report in last December, the said the incidents of killings was the highestin 2020 within a decade.
Mr. Jaishankar, however, highlighted the broader contours of India-Bangladesh relation, which witnessed India choosing Bangladesh for the largest consignment of COVID-19 vaccines that Delhi had sent abroad. He pointed out that 9 million doses of Covishield vaccine had reached Bangladesh from Pune’s Serum Institute of India.
‘Rock solid relationship’
India’s vaccine production found strong support from Mr. Momen. He said, “Around 135 countries in the world are yet to get the COVID-19 vaccine but there is our friend India and we have such a rock solid relationship that we got the vaccine and everyone is very happy. Bangladesh has purchased the COVID vaccine from the Serum Institute of India and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s government is implementing the nationwide vaccination programme free of cost very efficiently and effectively.”
Mr. Momen said Bangabandhu-Bapu Digital Exhibition would be inaugurated in Dhaka in the coming days.
Mr. Jaishankar is paying a day-long visit to take stock of bilateral ties ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s planned March 26 visit, during which he will participate in the independence day celebrations in Dhaka that will mark the half century of the country’s independent existence.
He said both sides took stock of the relationship and reviewed the issues that were being worked on.
Teesta water issue
The issue of sharing of the waters of the Teesta came up during the joint press conference. Mr. Jaishankar said, “We did discuss it. We have meeting of our water resources secretaries very soon. The Government of India’s position has not changed.”
“There is no domain where we are not working today. Our relationship covers every human activity. The more we do, the more possibilities open up. Most of all let us look at connectivity. If we can get connectivity right between India and Bangladesh, I can tell you the geo-economics of the region will change. The Bay of Bengal will look very different,” noted Mr. Jaishankar. He also highlighted a potential role for Japan in the bilateral connectivity projects between India and Bangladesh.
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