The eighth round of the India- Bangladesh Friendship Dialogue was held in Guwahati from 2-4 July 2017. Amongst the political functionaries who attended were the Governors of Assam and Tripura, the CM of Assam, the Ministers of State, External Affairs, of the Govt of India and the Govt of Bangladesh, and Law makers from both the countries. The other delegates were subject experts, Think Tanks and civil servants. After a fruitful discussion, the Guwahati Declaration was released, which is placed below.
THE GUWAHATI DECLARATION
Bangladesh and India share a special bond, which is generic, granular and unbroken, by sovereign boundaries of Post-Westphalian Republics. The bond is civilisational and is sanctified by the blood of those martyrs who fought together for the glorious independence of Bangladesh in 1971.
The Sixth Session of the Bangladesh- India Friendship Dialogue, held in New Delhi on 25 May 2015 defined the stakeholders, trends, peripherals, and optics which shape the politicoeconomic interface between the two countries. It also drew forth a road map to lift all such interactions, par-ticularly in matters related to security, border management, combating transboundary crimes, infra-structure development, physical connectivity, people-to-people relations, basin-wide management of transboundary waters, and securing uninterrupted supply of energy, to an optimal level at the shortest possible time. It was built upon in the Seventh Session of the Dialogue in Dhaka on 05 March 2016, which chalked out a timebound guide map for enhancing connectivity and integrated multimodal communication (with special emphasis on sub-regionally utilising inland waterways, rail networks, sea ports and coastal shipping); upgrading generation, grid and trading in power and energy, and designing innovative market solutions for securitising the power and energy sector; de-signing sustainable and forward looking mechanisms in joint finance and marketing of both innovative and high-end value-added products and services; and jointly developing shared interests in the preservation, augmentation and management of the natural resources and improving security in the Indian Ocean Region.
The Eighth Dialogue is now convinced that visionary progress made by the two countries over last seven years – and in particular with the visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Bangladesh in 2015 and the visit of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to India in 2017 – ought to continue in stronger strides and deserves stronger institutional attention from the relevant Ministries and Agencies of the two Governments.
The Eighth Session of the Friendship Dialogue has carefully assessed the impact of the changing world order on peace, stability and prosperity of South Asia, in particular, of India and Bangladesh. It has re-assessed and measured progress in the areas discussed in the sixth and seventh rounds, particularly in managing peaceful and prosperous international borders and security; water security and Joint Basin Management; energy security and cross border generation and trade in power; connec-tivity and Integrated Multimodal Communication – with special emphasis on utilising inland water-ways; Sub- Regional and Regional development and utilisation of mega-architectures such as Re-gional and Continental Highways, Rail Networks, Sea Ports and Coastal Shipping; and investment, production, manufacturing and service sector complementarity. The Eighth iteration has also as-sessed the possibilities and modalities for designing sustainable and forward-looking mechanisms in joint finance and promotion of both innovative and high-end value-added products and services and has also suggested a security and economic vision of South Asia for 2030 – which is built on a platform of innovation and entrepreneurship.
Preparing a Vision Document and Research Report on “NE India and Bangladesh: Borders as Prosperity Zones” and organising an India- Bangladesh Business Summit have been suggested in the Eighth Session.
With an aim to ensure sustainable political goodwill and trust, economic growth and shared pros-perity of the peoples of India and Bangladesh, the Eighth iteration declares its conviction that ensuring greater people-to-people and business-to-business contacts between the Northeastern Region of India and Bangladesh is crucial. Particularly matters related to innovation, entrepreneurship, healthcare, education, tourism, human resource development, technology, finance, industrial production, manufacturing, agro-processing, freights and shipping, power generation and energy security are of strategic import for both Delhi and Dhaka. To delay a closer economic integration in such areas as mentioned above would thus tantamount to contravening the strategic interests of the two Governments at their respective Capitals. Finally, the greatest impetus was given to, people-to-people contact and celebrating civilisational ties
The Dialogue will reconvene in Cox Bazar, Bangladesh, towards the beginning of 2018 for its Ninth Round.
The Dialogue hereby concludes its Eighth Iteration on the 4th Day of July 2017, in Guwahati, India.