Full text of PM's written speech at press conference

BSS || Shining BD

Published: 6/25/2024 6:50:05 AM

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina addressed a press conference at her official Ganabhaban residence here this morning on her state visit to India on June 21-22.

She read out a written speech at the beginning of the press conference.

Following is the verbatim of her written speech:

                                          Bismillahir Rahmanir Rahim

 Dear Journalists,

and colleagues.

 Assalamu Alaikum! Good morning!

      I paid a state visit to India on June 21 -22, 2024 at the invitation of Indian Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi.

     This was my first bilateral visit to a country after the formation of our new government through the 12th Jatiya Sangsad elections in January 2024.

    At the same time, this was also the first bilateral visit by a Head of State or Head of Government to India after the formation of its government following the 18th Lok Sabha elections.

It is certainly a great honor for me and the people of Bangladesh. Besides, it is an expression of India's cooperative special relationship with Bangladesh.

India is Bangladesh's biggest and closest neighbour, trusted friend and regional partner. Bangladesh has been putting special importance on the relationship that started in 1971 through the great Liberation War. In recent years, the two countries have continued communication and cooperation at the high levels, including at the highest level of state.

You know that the swearing-in ceremony of the three-time elected Prime Minister of India Shri Narendra Modi and his newly formed cabinet was held on June 9. I visited New Delhi from June 8 to 10 to attend the ceremony.

Many dignitaries including heads of state and government of neighbouring countries were invited there. During that visit, I exchanged pleasantries with the political personalities of India as well as exchanged views with several heads of government from South Asia and other countries who were invited at that ceremony. Besides, bilateral meetings of the heads of government of Bhutan and Sri Lanka with me were held separately. These discussions and meetings will be conducive to strengthen our mutual relations.

This time I paid a state bilateral visit on June 21 and 22. It is an unprecedented incident for me to visit Delhi twice as the head of the government in the same month. All these bear testimony of our two countries working closely with each other.

 Honourable Minister of Foreign Affairs, Honourable Ambassador-at-large, Honourable Private Industry and Investment Adviser, State Minister for Posts, Telecommunications and Information Technology, State Minister for Commerce, secretaries of some ministries and high government officials, and some prominent businessmen and a delegation of journalists were my entourage.

On June 21, I was welcomed at Delhi Palam Airport with a colourful reception and cultural programme.

In the evening on that day, India's External Affairs Minister Dr S. Jaishankar called on me. Besides, an Indian business delegation called on me and discussed the possibilities and ways for expansion of bilateral trade. On the occasion, my entourage business delegation also participated in the discussion.

 On June 22, I was accorded a formal state reception by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi at Rashtrapati Bhavan. I was given a guard of honour in presence of him there. Afterwards, I paid my tributes to Mahatma Gandhi, the Father of Indian Nation, at his mausoleum at Rajghat.

In the afternoon I had several meetings with Prime Minister of India Shri Narendra Modi.

A bilateral meeting between Bangladesh and India was held at the historic Hyderabad House. I led the Bangladesh delegation. On the other hand, Shri Narendra Modi led the Indian delegation.

During the meeting, Prime Minister Modi said Bangladesh-India relations are constantly flourishing and progressing rapidly. Emphasizing good relations with neighbours and regional cooperation amid ongoing global instability and uncertainty, he said, they are interested in working more deeply with Bangladesh. Bangladesh is at the centre of their 'Neighbourhood First', 'Act East', 'SAGAR and Indo-Pacific' policies.

We discussed ways and means of mutual cooperation and engagement between the two countries. We have agreed to cooperate sincerely for the welfare of our two countries and people.

During the meeting, we discussed politics and security, peaceful and secured border management and curbing border casualty to zero level, trade and connectivity, sustainable management of common rivers and water sharing, energy and regional and multilateral cooperation, among other issues of mutual interest.

I have invited Indian Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi to pay a bilateral visit to Bangladesh as soon as possible at his convenient time.

After the meeting, 5 new memorandums of understanding (MoUs) were signed and exchanged and 3 renewed MoUs were signed and exchanged between the two countries. In addition, 2 Vision Statements were signed and exchanged. In the meeting, 13 joint programmes as areas of future work were announced. (Attached with separate list).

  Important aspects of the tour:

·    Both countries have adopted a Vision Statement to ensure a peaceful and prosperous future. In addition, we both sides agreed to work with two integrated visions of 'Digital Partnership' and 'Green Partnership for Sustainable Future'.

 ·   Five MoUs were signed on rail connectivity, maritime cooperation and green economy, cooperation in information technology sector, satellite and military education cooperation. Through the memorandums of understanding on railway connectivity, passenger and freights trains communication will be established with Bangladesh and various cities of India as well as Nepal and Bhutan.

 ·  Three MoUs have been renewed for cooperation in health and medicine, disaster management, resilience and mitigation and cooperation in fisheries.

     Besides, some programmes undertaken between the two   countries were announced during the visit:

·   We discussed the renewal of the Ganges River Water Sharing Agreement and India's assistance in the Teesta River Water Management and Water Conservation Project in Bangladesh. However, this has no link with the long-standing unsettled issue of Teesta water sharing.

 · Introduction of e-Visa for patients travelling from Bangladesh for medical purpose in India and establishment of new Assistant High Commission of India in Rangpur. This will allow critical patients to process their visas faster than before and travel in lesser time.

 ·   Introduction of new train service between Rajshahi and  Kolkata; New bus service between Chattogram and Kolkata and freight train service between Gede-Darshana and Haldibari-Chilahati to Dalgaon. This will enhance communication and economic activities between the two countries further.

 ·   Construction of Inland Container Depot (ICD) at Sirajganj under grant assistance.

·   Import of 40 MW electricity from Nepal to Bangladesh through the Indian grid, which will further enhance regional power cooperation.

·   Making expenditure capped at Tk 8 lakh for patients seeking treatment under the Mukti Joddha scheme and introduction of training for Bangladeshi police officers.

·     Introduction of 'Rupee' card in Bangladesh and 'Taka-Pay' card in India in order to start the use of 'UPI'.

After exchanging the MoUs, I and the Indian Prime Minister addressed a joint press conference. Later I attended a luncheon hosted in honor of me and my entourage. In the afternoon before leaving Delhi, I paid a courtesy call on Indian President Smt. Droupadi Murmu and Vice-President Shri Jagdeep Dhankhar. During the meeting with His Excellency the President and Vice President of India, we emphasized the friendship and cooperative relations between the two countries. They praised the unprecedented socio-economic development and stability of Bangladesh in the last 15 years.

Bangladesh-India relations have been elevated to a unique height in the last 15 years. The people of both countries are enjoying the benefits. Especially in 2023, a new dimension has been added to the relations between the two countries. Last year I and the Prime Minister of India jointly inaugurated four projects in the communication and power sectors. Bangladesh-India jointly produced the film “Mujib: The Making of a Nation”, a biopic of Father of the Nation of Bangladesh, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. As the only country in South Asia, I attended the G-20 summit at the invitation of India. The visit was held after the formation of new governments in both Bangladesh and India.

 During the visit, main focus of the discussions with the Indian leadership was on formulating a vision on how the two newly-elected governments could take ahead the cooperative relationship further.

 As Dhaka and Delhi began a new journey through the formation of new governments, and in continuation of that, we have discussed setting the future course of action to ensure establishing of 'Smart Bangladesh' under ‘Vision 2041’ and 'Viksit Bharat 2047'.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina also mentioned that she had separate meetings with senior BJP leader L K Advani and Gandhi family including Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi during her visit to India to attend the Modi’s swearing-in ceremony.

 She also said during her recent state visit to New Delhi, she met family members of former Indian President Pranab Mukherjee.

The visit was short but very fruitful. I think this visit will play a far-reaching role in strengthening the existing excellent relations between India and Bangladesh.

Thank you all.


Khoda Hafez.

Joy Bangla, Joy Bangabandhu

           May Bangladesh live forever.

Shining BD