New Delhi: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said that the inauguration of an India-Bangladesh electricity grid connection in a Bangladesh village Saturday would strengthen the bonds of friendship between the neighbours and add a rich new dimension to their bilateral ties.
Speaking through video conference from the Indian capital, Manmohan Singh said with the inauguration of the grid connection at Bheramara, a remote Bangladeshi village bordering Murshidabad district of West Bengal, both sides "embark on a new partnership for prosperity between our two countries".
India's National Thermal Power Corp (NTPC) has started exporting 250 MW of electricity to Bangladesh from Saturday at a fixed tariff.
India and Bangladesh also laid the foundation stone for the 1,320 MW Maitri Thermal Power Project at Bheramara, being developed by the Bangladesh-India Friendship Power Company, a joint venture of NTPC Ltd and the Bangladesh Power Development Board.
Manmohan Singh said with the inauguration of the grid line a "shared aspiration of our people has been translated into a concrete outcome".
He said 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," the prime minister said. The event in Bangladesh was attended by Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.
Manmohan Singh said 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. Today's inauguration represents an important milestone in connecting our two countries and the broader region through a growing web of cross-border energy links and trade."
He said while both sides have made rapid progress in many areas of cooperation "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 said.
Manmohan Sinh said that India and Bangladesh have shown that "we can pursue cooperative endeavours to harness the boundless economic potential of our 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 said.