India-Bangladesh JCC meet held with focus on Covid-19, connectivity, water sharing

New Delhi (NVI): Covid-19, connectivity and water sharing were among the major highlights of the sixth meeting of the India-Bangladesh Joint Consultative Commission (JCC) which was held today.

Although Dhaka was scheduled to host the meeting, due to the COVID-19 situation the meeting was held on virtual platform, the Ministry of External Affairs said in a statement.

The meeting was co-chaired by External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and Dr A K Abdul Momen, MP, Foreign Minister of Bangladesh. Both Ministers expressed satisfaction over the current state of bilateral relations under the leadership of the Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and PM Modi.

During the virtual meeting, Jaishankar and his Bangladesh counterpart reviewed and discussed the cooperation on connectivity, security, political issues, development, trade and investment, power and energy sector and people to people contacts.

They also talked about the scope of collaboration in the health sector in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, especially in terms of supply, delivery, distribution and co-production of COVID-19 vaccine.

On the occasion, Jaishankar also appreciated Bangladesh’s gesture of releasing the commemorative stamp on the 150th anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi.

Jaishankar also informed about to India’s decision to issue a commemorative stamp on the birth centenary of Bangabandhu on 16 December 2020, on the occasion. He said that both sides will prepare for the Virtual summit between Prime Ministers of India and Bangladesh in December 2020.

The JCC meeting also comes against the backdrop of indications that Dhaka was cozying up to China. China has been aggressively backing of Bangladesh as Beijing announced $1 billion for the Teesta river project recently.

The Chinese funding for the Teesta project is worrying for India as a proposal for signing a pact between India and Bangladesh regarding sharing of this river’s water has been pending for long.

According to local media reports, Bangladesh is going for the deal with China on the Teesta project because Indian government failed to finalise the treaty.

Indian Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla had arrived in Bangladesh in August on an unannounced visit and met Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to discuss th matter.