7th round of India-Bangladesh Joint Consultative Commission: Looking forward to working on new areas of cooperation, says Jaishankar

EXTERNAL AFFAIRS Minister S Jaishankar on Sunday said India is looking forward to working on new areas of cooperation with Bangladesh, which include artificial intelligence, cyber security, start-ups and fintech.

Jaishankar, who held a bilateral meeting with visiting Foreign minister of Bangladesh, A K Abdul Momen, said, “We now look forward to working with you to take our ties to new domains – Artificial Intelligence, cyber security, startups, fintech.”

The seventh round of the India-Bangladesh Joint Consultative Commission (JCC) was held in New Delhi on Sunday.

A joint statement said the two ministers expressed satisfaction that despite challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic, both countries have worked closer than ever before in every sector, from security and border management to mutually beneficial trade and investment flows, as well as enhanced bilateral and sub-regional multimodal connectivity, greater power and energy cooperation, developmental assistance and capacity building exchanges, cultural and closer people-to-people ties.

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“The two ministers agreed to work closely together to further deepen and strengthen cooperation in the areas of common rivers and water resources management, IT and cybersecurity, renewable energy, agriculture and food security, sustainable trade, climate change and disaster management,” the statement said.

It also said that both ministers appreciated that in addition to the high-level visits, there had been intensive engagements through various bilateral mechanisms and agreed to further enhance partnership-building efforts with renewed vigour and regularity. In this regard, both Ministers tasked their officials to accelerate cooperation, with further attention paid to addressing issues and finding durable solutions for the mutual benefit of both the peoples, the statement said.

“Both sides reiterated the importance of safe, speedy and sustainable return of the forcibly displaced persons from the Rakhine State to Myanmar, currently being sheltered by Bangladesh,” it said, regarding the Rohingya.

On the border situation, Jaishankar said, “The better management of our long border is also a key priority. Our Border Guarding Forces are committed to combating trans-border crimes. We must continue to work together to make sure that the border remains crime-free.”

And, on the river-sharing, he said, “And of course, we share 54 rivers. Comprehensive management of our rivers and their conservation, as well as the shared environment responsibility that we have, especially the Sundarbans. These are really areas that we need to work together as part of our commitment to climate action.”

“We would also like to convey our support and solidarity at the unprecedented flooding that we have had in Northern Bangladesh. We have also had it in North-East. We are now sharing flood management data for an extended period. I would like to take the opportunity to convey that if in any concrete way, we can be of assistance to you in the management of flood and relief efforts, we would be very glad to be supportive. It would be in keeping with our relationship,” Jaishankar said.

Foreign Minister Momen will meet Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu on Monday. It was agreed that the 8th round of India-Bangladesh JCC will be held in Bangladesh in 2023.

This was the first in-person JCC meeting convened since the onset of Covid-19 pandemic, with the previous edition held virtually in 2020.

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