Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Monday (Sep 10) said Bangladesh plans to import 9,000 MW power by 2041 from neighbouring countries, expecting New Delhi to stay beside this endeavour in a video conference with her Indian counterpart Narendra Modi, local media reported.
“We plan to import 9,000 MW of electricity from our neighbours by 2041 under a regional cooperation framework and I hope that India will be by our side in this endeavour,” she said jointly inaugurating with Modi three projects in power and railway sectors.
Sheikh Hasina added that steps have been taken to immediately import 3,000 MW more from India as Bangladesh currently imports 660 MW from there.
The Indian PM, on the other hand, said with the opening of three projects a golden chapter has been opened up and “from today we became closer and our relationship has been deepened further”.
The aim of the conference is that any inauguration of coopeartion projects is not delayed for the VVIP visit,” he said adding that it was his fourth videoconference with the Bangladesh premier among many meetings and another videoconference was supposed to be held soon.
The Indian premier noted that it was very much needed to maintain neigbourly relations with leaders of neighbouring countries.
The Bangladesh PM was at her Ganobhaban official residence during the conference, and Modi was at his office in New Delhi while chief ministers of West Bengal and Tripura Mamata Banerjee and Biplab Kumar Deb joined the conference from their respective state capitals.
Indian External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and Bangladesh Foreign Minister A H Mahmood Ali spoke on the occasion.
Two of the projects opened through the conference today were on railway sector while the rest involved the power sector cooperation under which India would export 500 MW additional power through Behrampore-Bheramara interconnection.
The event marked the groundbreaking of Agartala-Akhaura railway link and groundbreaking for rehabilitation of Kulaura-Shahbazpur section of Bangladesh Railways.
The two PM along with the West Bengal and Tripura Chief Ministers opened the three projects by unveiling the e-plaques.
Law Minister Anisul Haque, Railways Minister Md Mazibul Haque, PM’s Political Affairs Adviser HT Imam, International Affairs Adviser Dr Gowher Rizvi, and Energy Adviser Dr Towfiq-e-Elahi Chowdhury were present on Bangladesh side during the conference.
State Minister for Power, Energy and Mineral Resources Nasrul Hamid Bipu, PM’s Principal Secretary Md Nojibur Rahman, Foreign Secretary Md Shahidul Haque and Indian High Commissioner in Dhaka Harsh Vardhan Shringla were also present at Ganabhaban, among others.
Sheikh Hasina thanked Narendra Modi for supporting Bangladesh in its development pursuit particularly in energy and power sector which she said appeared as a crucial element of bilateral cooperation.