Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen made the remarks after the sixth Joint Consultative Commission meeting, which was held virtually in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and her Indian counterpart Narendra Modi will hold virtual meeting in December, Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen said here on Tuesday. Momen made the remarks after the sixth Joint Consultative Commission meeting, which was held virtually in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Momen led the Bangladesh side while External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar led the Indian team at the meeting.
He said the two prime ministers will hold a virtual meeting in December. Momen said he laid emphasis on “early resolution” of the Teesta water-sharing issue apart from resolving water sharing of other common rivers during the meeting.
“We have got positive responses from the Indian side on the issue, he told a media briefing here on the outcome of the JCC talks. Momen said his meeting with Jaishankar also featured the issue of potential water sharing agreements on six of the remaining trans-boundary rivers – Monu, Muhuri, Khowai, Gomti, Dharla and Dudhkumar.
“Both sides underscored the necessity of early resolution of the Teesta water sharing and early resolution of agreements on sharing of all common rivers,” the Bangladesh foreign office said in a statement.
The two sides also agreed to hold the long pending Joint Rivers Commission (JRC) meeting soon at the ministerial level to address outstanding issues on water resources cooperation. “It (JRC meeting) will be held very soon,” Momen said.
The two ministers discussed several issues including trade, line of credit and air bubble. According to the statement, Bangladesh thanked India for the concessions being provided under SAFTA but said various non-tariff barriers and lack of adequate trade facilitation was impeding flow of Bangladeshi products into India, particularly.
Momen requested New Delhi to address issues of accreditation, certification, standardization, port restrictions and developing port infrastructure to enable exports of Bangladesh into India, it said. “The Foreign Minister requested his Indian counterpart to look into the export of essential commodities, such as onions by India, it added.
Bangladesh, it said, also stressed on the equitable application of investment policies by India. The JCC also reviewed the projects under the Indian line of credit and Dhaka put emphasis on expediting the implementation process of those projects and decided to form a monitoring committee to regularly review their progress.
“Enhancing cooperation on energy and power sector through facilitation of tripartite power-energy cooperation among Bangladesh-India-Nepal and Bangladesh-India-Bhutan was also discussed, the statement said. Momen said the two sides discussed about cooperation on access to potential COVID 19 vaccine. He said the Indian side has assured that Bangladesh would get priority in receiving any potential vaccine which it could develop.
Both sides discussed collaboration in the health sector “especially in terms of supply, delivery, distribution and co-production of COVID-19 vaccine,” the statement said. A senior official at the Indian High Commission, who is familiar with the talks, said India proposed third phase clinical trial of a vaccine it was working on in Bangladesh as soon as its trial begins at home.
“Bangladesh side in principle agreed to the proposal,” the official said on condition of anonymity. Momen said that his Indian counterpart agreed with him to bring down border killing to zero level. “We don’t want any death along the frontier, he said.
The Rohingya crisis appeared to be another issue discussed during the meeting. The foreign ministry statement said Momen expressed hope that as a non-permanent UNSC member India would play a “more meaningful role” for a lasting solution to the Rohingya crisis.
Momen and Jaishankar jointly unveiled two commemorative stamps as part of the celebration of the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi. The two ministers agreed to jointly celebrate the Golden Jubilee of the independence of Bangladesh and the fiftieth anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries.
They also discussed the joint programmes for celebrating the Mujib Year, marking the birth centenary of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, father of Prime Minister Hasina. The 5th India-Bangladesh JCC meeting was held on February 8 last year in New Delhi.
Source: News 18