Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Saturday (Mar 18) said the inauguration of "India-Bangladesh Friendship Pipeline" is a milestone achievement in mutual cooperation for the development of the two friendly neighbours. "I believe that the friendship pipeline is a milestone achievement in cooperation for the development between the two friendly countries," she said. The PM, from her official Ganabhaban residence, and her Indian Counterpart Narendra Modi, from India, jointly inaugurated the "India-Bangladesh Friendship Pipeline'' by unveiling a plaque by pressing buttons through video-conferencing in the afternoon, local media reported.
After opening the pipeline, both the premiers hoped that it will play an effective role in expediting Bangladesh's economy. They also stressed the need for enhancing connectivity between the two countries for mutual benefits.
Sheikh Hasina hoped that Bangladesh and India would jointly celebrate many such successes in the days to come. "We will work together on the international stage... we will work together for the development of the peoples of our two friendly countries," she said.
The PM hoped that Bangladesh-India relations will remain intact and be further strengthened in future. Sheikh Hasina said, "The pipeline will play a significant role in protecting the energy security of our people and quicken the country's development."
She said that the mutual cooperation on energy between India and Bangladesh has increased.
"We're importing 1160MW of power from India. Some more regional and bilateral initiatives in the power sector are under implementation. Our cooperation to this end will be deep-rooted in the days to come," she added.
The premier said she and her Indian counterpart on Sep 18 in 2018 virtually laid down the construction work of a 1.31.57 kilometre long cross-border pipeline with 126.57 kilometre falling inside Bangladesh and 5 kilometre in India.
"The pipeline has come into operation from today with its opening. The people of India and Bangladesh will be benefited in many ways with the opening of the pipelines," she said.
The premier said many countries have been facing energy crisis due to the Russia-Ukraine war.
"The pipeline will play a pivotal role in ensuring our energy security. The expenses and time in importing diesel from India will be saved," she said.
She added that the pipeline will ensure stability in diesel conditions in the 16 districts in the northern part of the country.
Sheikh Hasina described India as a "true friend" of Bangladesh with shared common culture and traditions for a thousand of years.
"The historic and geographical bond will further consolidate the relations between Bangladesh and India," she said.
The PM said Bangladesh and India jointly have transformed many problems into prosperity in the previous years.
"We're solving the existing problems between the two countries one after another. We have developed communication and enhanced trade and commerce for mutual benefits. We're working for mutual development and we're getting assistance from India," she said.
The PM said Bangladesh has achieved the status of a developing nation and is working to transform it into a developed country by 2041.
She said they are currently building 100 economic zones across the country and offered India land in the economic zones, adding, "I want Indian investors to invest in the economic zones."
The PM thanked the Indian government and its people for giving unconditional support to Bangladesh during the Liberation War in 1971 alongside giving shelter to one crore refugees from Bangladesh, providing the freedom fighters with training and firearms.
"We had achieved the final victory (against the Pakistani occupation forces) on Dec 16 due to the drives of Bangladesh-India allied force," she said.
Recalling her political asylum in India with her sister Sheikh Rehana after assassination of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman along with most of his family members on August 15 in 1975, she said, "I personally indebted to the Indian government and its people. We two sisters and our relatives, who survived, took shelter in India."
The energy pipeline between India and Bangladesh was built at an estimated cost of INR 377 crore.
The Bangladesh portion of the pipeline, built at a cost of INR 285 crore (approx.), has been financed by the Indian government under its grant assistance.
The Pipeline has a capacity to transport 1 (one) million metric ton per annum (MMTPA) of High-Speed Diesel (HSD). It will supply High Speed Diesel initially to seven districts in northern Bangladesh.
A long-term agreement was signed in 2017 to import diesel from India to Bangladesh through the pipeline, which stretches from West Bengal's Siliguri to a Meghna petroleum depot in Dinajpur's Parbatipur, according to official sources.
The operation of "India-Bangladesh Friendship Pipeline" will put in place a sustainable, reliable, cost-effective and environment friendly mode of transporting HSD from India to Bangladesh.
It will further enhance cooperation in energy security between the two friendly neighbours.