Prime Minister Narendra Modi said Monday leaders from neighbouring countries should have relations like neighbours who are not bound by protocol.
He made these remarks at the joint inauguration of three infrastructure projects in Bangladesh via video conferencing.
The three projects were jointly inaugurated by Modi, his Bangladesh counterpart Sheikh Hasina and chief ministers of West Bengal and Tripura, Mamata Banerjee and Biplab Deb respectively.
External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and her Bangladesh counterpart were also present on the occasion.
The projects are 500 MW additional power supply from India to Bangladesh through the existing Bheramara (Bangladesh)-Baharampur (India) interconnection; Akhaura Agartala rail link; and rehabilitation of the Kulaura-Shahbazpur section of Bangladesh Railways.
Modi recalled that he had met Hasina several times in the recent past, including at the BIMSTEC meeting in Kathmandu, in Shanti Niketan, and during the Commonwealth Summit in London.
He said leaders of neighbouring countries should have a relationship like neighbours, talking and visiting frequently, without getting bogged down by protocol.
He said this closeness is evident in the frequent interactions between him and the Bangladesh prime minister.
Prime Minister Modi recalled Hasina’s vision of restoring connectivity between the countries the way it was before 1965.
He said he is happy that in the past a few years, there has been steady progress towards this goal.
He also said when projects are launched via video link then they don’t get bogged down by timings of VIP visits.
“Today, we have increased our power connectivity, and started two projects to increase our railway connectivity,” he pointed out.
He recalled that during his visit to Bangladesh in 2015, it was decided that India will supply an additional 500 MW power to Bangladesh. He said this is being done using the transmission link between West Bengal and Bangladesh, and thanked CM Banerjee for her help in completion of this work.
He said with the completion of this project, 1.16 gigawatts of power is now being supplied from India to Bangladesh. He said this quantum jump from megawatts to gigawatts is symbolic of a “golden era” in the relations between India and Bangladesh.
Modi said Akhaura-Agartala rail link will provide another cross-border connectivity system between the two countries.
Appreciating Prime Minister Hasina’s development goals of transforming Bangladesh into a middle-income country by 2021, and a developed country by 2041, Modi said closer relations and people-to-people ties between the two countries would take their development and prosperity to newer heights.