Dhaka: Bangladesh will soon import defence-related items from India under the USD 500 million Line of Credit provided by New Delhi as several identified equipment are being fast-tracked, according to Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla.

His remarks came after President Ram Nath Kovind, who is here on his maiden state visit at the invitation of his counterpart M Abdul Hamid to attend the golden jubilee celebrations of Bangladesh’s independence from Pakistan in 1971, held delegation-level talks with the country’s top leadership on Wednesday.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina called on President Kovind and the two leaders discussed several issues of mutual interest and bilateral cooperation. They reviewed the progress in the multifaceted and comprehensive bilateral ties.

Addressing a press briefing here on Wednesday night, Shringla said, “As far as we are concerned, India and Bangladesh are bound by ties of history, language, spirituality and culture.”

He said that the defence issue was discussed during President Kovind’s talks with Bangladesh’s top leadership.

“I think the issue of imports of defence-related items by Bangladesh, you are aware that we have signed, we have extended the line of credit for defence items for USD 500 million.”

“Under this line of credit, several items have been identified and being fast-tracked. They’re in fairly advanced stages of being processed we will see certain defence items exports from India coming to Bangladesh and this is something that we would like to see,” the foreign secretary said.

Sringla said that essentially the entire gamut of cooperation, whether it is training, exchanges, joint manufacturing in the defence sector, is something that we would like to see enhanced .

In 2019, India provided USD 500 million Line of Credit to Bangladesh for defence-related procurement in the neighbouring country.

Export Import Bank of India (Exim Bank) entered into an agreement on April 11 with Bangladesh’s Armed Forces Division for making available to the latter a Government of India-supported LoC of USD 500 million.

The LoC is for the purpose of financing defence-related procurement in Bangladesh.

In April 2017 during Prime Minister Hasina’s visit to New Delhi, India committed USD 500 million LoC for Bangladesh’s defence.

President Kovind on Wednesday assured the top leadership here that Bangladesh has a “special place” in India’s ‘Neighbourhood First’ policy and underlined that the bilateral relationship based on sovereignty, equality, trust and understanding is mature enough to handle the “most complex of problems”.

Also read: President Kovind presents 1971-era MIG 21 aircraft replica to B’desh prez

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