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India Gives $4.5-Billion line of credit to Bangladesh for development projects, Signs first-ever pact on Defense cooperation

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced an additional $500 million in credit for Bangladesh to buy military equipment from India during the visit to New Delhi by Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina

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Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi shakes hand with his Bangladeshi counterpart Sheikh Hasina at the Presidential Palace in New Delhi, India, Saturday, April 8, 2017, VOA

New Delhi, April 8, 2017: India and Bangladesh signaled deepening ties Saturday as New Delhi committed a $4.5-billion line of credit to Dhaka for development projects, and the two countries signed their first-ever pact on defense cooperation.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced an additional $500 million in credit for Bangladesh to buy military equipment from India during the visit to New Delhi by Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.

Calling India a “long standing and trusted development partner,” Modi said that the new credit lines “bring our resources allocation to Bangladesh to more than $8 billion over the past six years.”

Both leaders reaffirmed their close ties during the Bangladeshi prime minister’s first visit to India in seven years, with Modi speaking of a “golden era” in their friendship and Hasina saying their friendly ties would benefit South Asia.

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The two countries signed 22 agreements, including one on civil nuclear cooperation that aims to help Bangladesh develop its civilian nuclear program.

Many in New Delhi see the deal for defense cooperation over the next five years as the key breakthrough that will help reduce Bangladesh’s reliance on China for its military needs.

Worried by the growing Chinese influence in its neighborhood, New Delhi has made a concerted push in recent years to grow strategic ties with neighboring countries. Bangladesh’s purchase of two submarines from China last year deepened those concerns in India.

Calling the defense pact a feather in India’s cap, Sukh Deo Muni, a South Asia expert at New Delhi’s Institute of Defense Studies and Analyses, said,“India does not want China to consolidate defense ties just next to its belly, that is true.”

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Although the political opposition in Bangladesh has denounced the pact, independent analysts in Dhaka was optimistic that it will help achieve balance.

“Approximately 80 percent dependency at this moment you see on China, so it should be brought down. That actually reduces our vulnerability,” said Abdur Rashid, Executive Director of the Institute of Conflict, Law and Development Studies in Dhaka. “If one is interrupted we can depend on the other.”

A new rail link between the Indian city of Kolkata and Khulna in Bangladesh, and a bus link between Kolkata and Dhaka also were inaugurated, while another old rail link was restored to coincide with Hasina’s visit. The Bangladeshi leader said the greater connectivity is vital for the region’s development.

A key water-sharing agreement that Dhaka has long pushed for, however, eluded Hasina.

Although New Delhi favors such an arrangement, opposition from West Bengal state in India, through which the Teesta River flows into Bangladesh, has prevented the two countries from clinching a deal.

As Modi assured her of his commitment to conclude a deal, the Bangladeshi leader sounded a note of optimism. “I believe we shall be able to get India’s support in resolving these issues expeditiously,” said Hasina.

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The two countries have had a close relationship since 1971, when India helped Bangladesh gain independence from Pakistan following a bloody nine-month war. (VOA)

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PM Narendra Modi Urges Youth to Stay Away From Drug Addiction as it Helps Anti-national Forces

Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar said strict compliance of the law had been ensured to break the drug trade and the smuggling network in Haryana

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Narendra Modi
Narendra Modi (Wikimedia Commons)

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday urged youth to stay away from drug addiction, saying that it not only adversely affected the mind and body but also helps anti-national forces.

The Prime Minister was speaking through video-conferencing at the launch of ‘Drug Free India’ campaign organized by the Art of Living at Guru Jambeshwar University in Haryana’s Hisar town.

Modi said those who took drugs were unintentionally supporting anti-social elements.

“Drug traders harm the youth power and weaken the economic strength of the country. The Government of India has formed a National Action Plan to prevent cross-border drug trade and break the backbone of drugs business. It was implemented in 2018,” he said.

He said that a detailed action plan till 2025 has been prepared against drug addiction which includes an awareness generation campaign among the people, its prevention, and special campaigns for sensitive sections of the society.

Modi. BJP
Drug addiction helps anti-national forces: Modi. VOA

The Prime Minister also appealed to the people to adopt a sensitive attitude towards the victims of drugs by not looking at them as criminals and show these misguided youths the right path by connecting them to the mainstream society.

“Like other social evils, we would get this evil of drug addiction eliminated from society. The use of technology can play an important role in this campaign. Social organizations and community welfare organizations are playing a very important role in this direction,” he added.

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Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar said strict compliance of the law had been ensured to break the drug trade and the smuggling network in Haryana.

“The state government created a Special Task Force in January 2018 through which many drug dealers have been caught and large quantities of drugs have been seized,” he said. (IANS)