India, Bangladesh to sign agreements in capacity building, connectivity

New Delhi: Around six-seven documents are expected to be signed between India and Bangladesh when Prime Minister Narendra Modi holds bilateral talks with his Bangladeshi counterpart Sheikh Hasina on Saturday.

"At this point of time, I really would not like to prejudge what is going to be discussed. We warmly welcome PM Hasina to India and we are looking forward to the main day of engagement which is tomorrow.

I think she is meeting...having delegation-level talks with the Prime Minister. External Affairs Minister is calling on her.

We expect that around 6-7 documents will be signed in the field of transport connectivity, capacity building and culture," MEA Spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said while addressing a press conference.

Kumar also said that the two leaders will jointly inaugurate three projects.

"The relations have never been so close, naturally the focus of the discussion will be on the bilateral relationship. It could cover trade and connectivity.

We are talking about the next steps in the bilateral relationship. Other issues of mutual interest will be discussed," he said about the agenda of the meeting between the two Prime Ministers.

Responding to questions on NRC, Kumar said, "On NRC, we have been saying that this is a Supreme Court-mandated process. It is an ongoing exercise. Therefore, from the MEA perspective, there is nothing that I can add at this stage. I think it is important to understand that the due process has to be completed first."

Asked about the concerns expressed by Bangladesh over casualties on the border, Kumar emphasised that due to concerted efforts by the two sides and "under the leadership of two Prime Minister, the number of such incidents has actually come down drastically."

The MEA spokesperson said the two sides are discussing to see that following the demarcation of the land boundary agreement, whether these incidents can be brought to zero.

"As far as isolated incidents are concerned, it is regretted by both sides. Both countries will try to see if such incidents do not happen and we should always try to avoid such incidents," he said.

On Teesta river issue, MEA spokesperson said, "The government of Bangladesh is aware of our position in this regard. I think what is important to note is that apart from Teesta, there are at least seven other trans-border rivers and there is an early meeting of the joint water commission which is held at the level of secretary.

That meeting is going to take place very soon." Reacting to Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's remark that she is slightly inconvenienced after Government of India banned the export of onions, the MEA Spokesperson said, "We did see the statement made by the Prime Minister.

We are trying to see how to accommodate the concerns which have been reflected by Prime Minister of Bangladesh." Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Friday touched upon the issue of the Indian government banning the export of onions last month, saying her country has been slightly inconvenienced and has asked her cook to not to add the kitchen staple while preparing food.

"Pyaaz se thoda dikkat ho gaya hamare liye. Mujhe maloom nahi kyun aapne pyaaz bandh kar diya? Thoda sa notice agar dete toh dusre jagah se laa sakte the.

Maine cook ko bol diya ab se khana mein pyaaz dalna bandh kardo. Aage se agar kisi bhi iss tarah aisa kuch karna hai, toh hume thoda sa pehle bata dena,"

(We have been slightly inconvenienced with the ban on onion. I don't know why did you stop this? If you had given a notice to us, we could have got it from somewhere else.

I have instructed my cook not to put onion while preparing food. If you want to do such a thing, then do let us know at the earliest), Hasina said in a light-hearted manner at the India-Bangladesh Business Forum here earlier today.

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