Watershed, memorable moment: How Bangladesh media described Modi visit

  • HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times, Dhaka
  • Updated: Jun 07, 2015 11:54 IST

A day after India and Bangladesh ratified a historic four-decade-old land boundary agreement , Dhaka's media described Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to the country as a "watershed" and "memorable" moment in ties between the two neighbours.

India and Bangladesh sealed the agreement to exchange enclaves and settle their land border after 41 years and also pledged “zero tolerance” for terrorism on the first day of Modi's visit on Saturday, which was marked by bonhomie.

"Mr Modi has shown a strong willingness and capacity to overcome past bottlenecks in order to advance friendly relations and get new deals done," the Dhaka Tribune said in an editorial that described the visit as a “watershed” moment.

"We trust his meetings with different political and business leaders and visits to national monuments, will build more goodwill and pave the way for closer and stronger ties," it said.

Modi sweetened the land boundary deal with a slew of economic pacts and a $2-billion line of credit before bonding with his Bangladesh counterpart Sheikh Hasina over ‘khaman dhokla’ and vegetarian Hyderabadi biryani at a state banquet.

"His (Modi's) success in persuading India's parliament to implement the long delayed Land Boundary Agreement has been of key symbolic as well as practical importance to Bangladesh," the Dhaka Tribune said.

Leading newspaper Prothom Alo said in its editorial that Modi's visit was "memorable for several reasons".

"This trip will resolve the seven-decade-long boundary conflict and the problem of the enclaves," it said.

The historic pact between the two countries will not only demarcate the border clearly but allow more than 50,000 people living in enclaves to choose their nationality after decades of being stateless.

"The rare consensus displayed about Modi's visit, despite our tradition of discordant politics, should not be overlooked. If we could establish such consensus on all issues of national interest, the country's socio economic development would be accelerated and political problems would have a peaceful resolution," the Prothom Alo editorial said.

However, it cautioned that "the thorn in the flesh of this visit remains the fact that the Teesta agreement has not been signed, despite being finalised three years ago".

A consensus on sharing the waters of the Teesta river remains elusive despite several rounds of talks between the two countries.

Freelance journalist Mohammed Shafiquar Rahman wrote in an op-ed piece in Dainik Janakantha that Modi was able to turn the demands related to the enclaves into a "reality".

He said the fructification of the agreement will etch the names of Modi and Hasina in the history of the region.

In an opinion piece for bdnews24.com on Saturday, Bangladesh information minister Hasanul Haq Inu detailed the opportunities and challenges of Modi's visit.

"Prime Minster Narendra Modi will be the first Indian premier to visit Bangladesh early in his term. This is interpreted and we believe, quite rightly, as an indication of the incumbent's desire to put its relations with its immediate neighbors on a high pedestal. This gives us hope."

He added: "But solutions do not come easily. They need to be studied objectively and innovative solutions must be found. The problems of post-colonial states all over the world are in many ways the same.”


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