Indian Minister of Finance and Corporate Affairs Arun Jaitley on Wednesday said Bangladesh-India relations were at their all-time best today.
"India-Bangladesh relations are at their best today and stand out as a model for other countries to emulate," he said after his meeting with Finance Minister AMA Muhith at the latter's office before signing the agreement for the third Indian Line of Credit (LOC) worth $4.5 billion.
"India is fully committed to partner Bangladesh in its economic development. As a longstanding development partner of Bangladesh, we have extended three LOCs worth $8 billion to Bangladesh in recent years," Arun Jaitley said.
Arun said he is deeply impressed by the rapid progress made by Bangladesh in achieving economic growth along with inclusive social development.
"India continues to attach the highest importance to its relations with Bangladesh, which has seen steady growth during recent times. A strong, stable and prosperous Bangladesh is in India's interest and we are committed to working with Bangladesh to deepen our mutual engagement," he said.
The Indian finance minister said the Modi government has a plan to minimise cash transactions. He said cashless economies grow at a faster rate than cash-based economies. He noted that 58% of Indians have unused bank accounts. The Modi government’s aim to include the entire population in the banking system is being facilitated by widespread use of modern technology which is helping revenue earnings.
Also Read- Bangladesh signs $4.5bn 3rd LOC deal with India
He said as in the case of past LOCs extended by India to Bangladesh, this line of credit is also highly concessional with interest at 1% per annum and repayment over a period of 20 years (inclusive of 5 years moratorium).
This is the largest quantum of credit India has extended to any other country by far.
"I am happy to note the increased efforts made by both our governments to restore the pre-1965 links, encompassing road, rail, water, and coastal shipping routes. I am confident that this will help increase bilateral trade and foster people-to-people contacts between our countries," he said.
Arun Jaitley said Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's visit to India was a landmark event that resulted in the signing of a record 36 agreements.
Several investment proposals by Indian public and private sector companies in Bangladesh are in the pipeline.
The two ministers witnessed the signing of the loan agreement to initiate the LOC announced during Hasina's visit.
Arun Jaitley said the signing of the third LOC agreement will enable the implementation of 17 pre-identified projects of developmental priority to Bangladesh in key sectors of the infrastructure such as power, railways, roads, shipping, ports, etc.
Economic Relations Division Secretary Kazi Shofiqul Azam and Managing Director of the Export-Import Bank of India (Exim) David Rasquinha signed the deal on behalf of their respective sides.
The Representative Office of the EXIM Bank of India in Dhaka was formally inaugurated on the same day.
The Indian Finance Minister arrived in Dhaka on Tuesday.