Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Saturday said that the India-Bangladesh Grid interconnection at Bheramara in Bangladesh would strengthen bonds of friendship between both countries and add a rich new dimension to bilateral relations.
"The initiatives being undertaken today strengthen the bonds of friendship between India and Bangladesh and add a rich new dimension to our bilateral relations. Economic development is the biggest challenge for all countries in South Asia. Our destinies are inter-linked and so must our economies be," he said at the inauguration of the India-Bangladesh Grid interconnection in Bangladesh through a video-conference.
"I have always believed and I believe Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina shares my conviction that the prospects for economic development in South Asia will be substantially enhanced through a partnership for shared prosperity between the countries of the region," he added.
He further said the initiative, which was taken during the visit of Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to India in January 2010, has been realized today, and added that a shared aspiration of people of both these countries has been translated into a concrete outcome.
"The transmission line and the HVDC station in Bheramara provide a safe and reliable interconnection of the power grids of our two countries, which will enable supply of 500 MW of power from India to Bangladesh. A shared aspiration of our people has been translated into a concrete outcome," he said.
He congratulated Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, her colleagues and the people of Bangladesh for this extraordinary accomplishment.
Dr Singh also thanked his ministerial colleagues, technical personnel and officials at the Centre and in the State Government of West Bengal for implementing this landmark project in South Asia in such a short span of time.
He also called upon the project authorities to observe the highest environmental standards in its execution, given that the Sunderbans is a common heritage for both the countries, while laying the foundation stone for the 1320 MW Maitri Thermal Power Project being developed by the Bangladesh-India Friendship Power Company, which is a joint venture of India's NTPC Ltd and the Bangladesh Power Development Board.
Dr Singh said that the inauguration represented an important milestone in connecting the two countries, and the broader region through a growing web of cross-border energy links and trade.
"The key to shared prosperity is greater trade and investment in our region and improved connectivity through transport, road, rail, telecom, cyber and energy links," he added.
Appreciating Sheikh Hasina for the significant progress that Bangladesh has made under her distinguished leadership, including in the area of energy security, Dr Singh assured that India would remain a steadfast and long-term partner in your development efforts.
"Bangladesh is one of the fastest growing economies in South Asia and its achievements in meeting the Millennium Development Goals stand as an example for the rest of the world. India wishes to see a strong and prosperous Bangladesh. I assure you that India will remain a steadfast and long-term partner in your development efforts," he said.
He also thanked the Bangladesh Prime Minister for strengthening mutually beneficial relations between the two countries.
"The Framework Agreement on Cooperation for Development that we signed in Dhaka in 2011 provides the template for our cooperation in the future. In the past few years, our cooperation has made rapid progress in many areas," he said.
"We do recognize that we have to make progress in other areas. We are committed to completing the tasks we had agreed upon in a manner that responds to the mutual aspirations of both our peoples," he added.
Dr Singh also said that the people of India and Bangladesh have always been good neighbours, and in the recent years, have shown that the two countries can pursue cooperative endeavours to harness the boundless economic potential of relationship based on the principles of equality, sovereignty and mutual prosperity.
"I look forward with confidence to a future of deeper cooperation in energy and all other dimensions of our relationship," he added.