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SOURCE: PTI

India has nudged Bangladesh to implement a three-year-old agreement that allows it to set up a network of surveillance radars along the coastline of the neighbouring country. The issue came up during the bilateral talks between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his visiting Bangladesh counterpart Sheikh Hasina on Tuesday.

“The Indian side reiterated its request for implementing the 2019 MoU for providing a coastal radar system for greater maritime security, at an early date,” said a joint statement issued by the two countries during the ongoing four-day state visit of PM Hasina to India.

The Memorandum of Understanding to set up coastal surveillance radar systems in Bangladesh was signed during PM Hasina’s visit to India in 2019.

Earlier this year, India handed over similar coastal radar surveillance systems to the Maldives.

PM Modi and PM Hasina also agreed for the early finalisation of projects under the Line of Credit for defence, which would be beneficial for both countries.

India welcomed the finalisation of initial procurement plans for vehicles for the Bangladesh Armed Forces in this regard and looked forward to enhancing bilateral defence ties, the joint statement said.

PM Hasina also flagged the issue of abrupt disruption of the supply of essential food commodities from India and sought assurances from the government in this regard.

“The Bangladesh side requested the Indian side for the predictable supply of the essential food commodities from India such as rice, wheat, sugar, onion, ginger and garlic,” the joint statement said.

It said the Indian side conveyed that Bangladesh’s requests will be favourably considered based on prevalent supply conditions in India, and all efforts will be made in this regard.

In 2020, India’s decision to ban the export of onions in the wake of domestic shortages upset Bangladesh, which had protested against the “surprise decision”.

On the peaceful management of the India-Bangladesh border, the two leaders directed the officials to expedite work to complete all pending developmental works within 150 yards of the Zero Line, including fencing starting with the Tripura sector with the objective of maintaining a tranquil and crime-free border.

The two leaders noted with satisfaction that the number of deaths due to incidents along the border has significantly reduced and agreed to work towards bringing the number down to zero, the joint statement said.

Both sides noted with appreciation the stepped-up efforts by the two border guarding forces against the smuggling of arms, narcotics and fake currency and to prevent trafficking, particularly of women and children.

Both leaders reiterated their strong commitment to eliminating terrorism in all its forms and manifestations and decided to further strengthen their cooperation to counter and prevent the spread of terrorism, violent extremism and radicalisation in the region and beyond.