India and Bangladesh on Saturday signed twenty-two agreements in strategic areas of defence and civil nuclear cooperation after "productive" talks between their prime ministers.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi held extensive discussions with his Bangladeshi counterpart Sheikh Hasina on ways to strengthen the strategic partnership between the two countries. He also announced a new line of concessional credit of USD 4.5 billion for the implementation of projects in Bangladesh.
Announcing an additional line of credit of USD 500 million to Bangladesh for military supplies, Modi said it will be driven by the requirement of that country.
However, much-delayed pact on the Teesta water sharing remained elusive for the two sides. Admitting that the pact was "important" for India-Bangladesh ties, Modi assured India's commitment to the issue. He said an "early solution can and will be found" to the Teesta water sharing issue.
After their restricted meeting, the two leaders were joined by their respective delegations.
Prime Minister Modi also assured Bangladesh of an "early solution" to the emotive Teesta water sharing issue, a pact on which has remained elusive for nearly seven years.
"While our partnership brings prosperity to our people, it also works to protect them from forces of radicalisation and extremism. Their spread poses a grave threat, not just to India and Bangladesh but to the entire region.
"We have the greatest admiration for Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's firm resolve in dealing with terrorism. Her government's 'zero-tolerance' policy towards terrorism is an inspiration for all of us," said Modi at a joint media event with Hasina.
The Prime Minister also said both sides agreed that peace, security and development for people of the two countries and for the region will remain central engagement between the two neighbours.
"Today, we have also taken a long overdue step by signing an agreement on close cooperation between our armed forces. I am also happy to announce a Line of Credit of 500 million US dollars to support Bangladesh's defence related procurement. In implementing this line of credit, we will be guided by Bangladesh's needs and priorities," he said.
On her part, Hasina said her government will take all necessary steps to ensure peace and security along the Indo-Bangla border and asserted that there will be zero-tolerance against terror.
Her comments came amid a spate of attacks on the Hindu community in Bangladesh.
The Teesta deal was set to be signed during the then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's visit to Bangladesh in September, 2011 but was postponed at the last minute due to objections by West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.
Teesta water is crucial for Bangladesh especially in the leanest period from December to March when the water flow often temporarily comes down to less than 1,000 cusecs from 5,000 cusecs.
India and Bangladesh on Saturday resolved to step up anti-terror cooperation with Prime Minister Narendra Modi terming spread of radicalism as a "grave threat", not only to the two countries but to the entire region.
With inputs from PTI