Land deal is like fall of Berlin wall: Modi in Dhaka

Dhaka: Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday termed ratification of the land boundary agreement between Bangladesh and India more “no less significant than the fall of the Berlin Wall”. 

“If you think Land Boundary Agreement is about land going this side and that side then thinks again. It is a meeting of hearts,” the Indian premier said in his address to civil society members while wrapping up his two-day visit to Bangladesh this evening.

“Earlier we were only near to each other, but now we are also together in our efforts,” he told a large attentive crowd.

Touching different stages of India-Bangladesh relations, he said: “Most importantly, we successfully overcame long pending issues of the past and this will enable us to create a better future for our ties.”

Dhaka University organized the programme at the Bangabandhu International Conference Centre in Dhaka.

“Kemon aachen Bangladesh?” Modi started his speech in Bangla. 

Talking on the much-awaited Teesta River water sharing deal, the BJP leader said water issues need to be resolved from humanitarian perspective. “I am confident we will be able to do so.”

Bangladesh, like India is a youthful nation, he said, adding: “I am sure the development journey of Bangladesh cannot stop now.”

Referring to India’s role in Bangladesh’s 1971 War of Independence, he said, “When we think of Bangladesh we feel very proud of the fact that even our Jawans have given their blood for this nation. We want to progress by pooling the talents of both the countries.”

All the 22 agreements signed between Bangladesh and India yesterday have the potential to transform the two countries’ bilateral ties, he said.

Emphasizing the importance of connectivity for the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC), he said, “If some don’t agree then we will move forward with those that do.”

Bangladesh, Bhutan, India and Nepal have placed their priority on easy connectivity. This was a proposal even raised in SAARC Summit, Modi said.

Talking on terrorism, he said: “Tourism unites the world while terrorism divides the world. Let’s promote tourism. Terrorism respects no borders. I was very happy to hear Sheikh Hasina say Bangladesh has zero tolerance for terrorism.”

India rejoices in Bangladesh’s success, he said, adding that Bangladesh has done very well despite several obstacles.

“I am perfectly in sync with PM Sheikh Hasina’s thinking. We are both focused on development….the thought process of your PM and my thought process perfectly matches. All we think of is development, development and development.”

“The world now does not need vistaarvaad (expansionism), it needs vikasvaad (development),” he added.

Talking on the role of United Nations, Modi opined, “The UN is still stuck in the previous century. It needs to reform.”

A nation which represents one-sixth of humanity and has contributed so much to international peace and security deserves a place in the United National Security Council, he said.

The Indian PM expressed delight in the fact the former PM Vajpayee has been honoured by a top honour in Bangladesh and added that receiving the award from a person associated with the freedom struggle and in the presence of the daughter of Bangabandhu made this even more special.

“Thank you Bangladesh. The visit will remain forever etched in my memory. Outcomes of the visit will lead to a stronger partnership,” he said.


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