NEW DELHI: Pushing his South Asia outreach policy, Prime Minister Narendra Modi today suggested a joint exercise by disaster management forces of countries of the region for a coordinated response to major natural calamities as he met his Bangladesh counterpart Sheikh Hasina here.
Hasina welcomed the suggestion made during their 30-minute meeting at Modi's official residence here, her Press Secretary Ihsanul Karim told reporters.
The Bangladesh Prime Minister was here on a day-long visit, mainly to attend the cremation of President Pranab Mukherjee's wife Suvra Mukherjee.
Modi's idea of a joint exercise of the disaster management forces assumes significance in view of the fact that the region is one the world's poorest and most vulnerable to natural disasters like earthquake, cyclone, tsunami and floods.
Modi recently said that the SAARC satellite that he had proposed last year would be launched next year and it will provide free data to all the eight member countries to help farming, education and tele-medicine.
Hasina, for her part, suggested that India and Bangladesh should jointly tap their combined and large market that will reduce the dependence on other regions, Karim said.
Fondly recalling his visit to Bangladesh in June, Modi thanked Hasina for the progress achieved in timely and peaceful implementation of the Land Boundary Agreement, said a statement issued by the Indian PMO.
Both expressed satisfaction over smooth implementation of the agreement, with Modi saying that this served as an example for the entire world, Karim said.
He told Hasina that more difficult than the political decision to implement LBA was its implementation part and the problem-free manner in which it was operationalized is "unprecedented", the Press Secretary said.
Hasina told Modi that LBA implementation, particularly the exchange of enclaves adversely held by Bangladesh and India, took place in a "festive atmosphere" and thanked the Indian PM for this.
The two leaders also welcomed the signing of the Bangladesh-Bhutan-India-Nepal (BBIN) Motor Vehicle Agreement and agreed to strengthen measures to increase regional connectivity, the Indian PMO added.
The BBIN agreement provides for seamless movement of passenger and cargo vehicles among the four countries.
Modi recalled his visit to the Bangbandhu Museum at 32 Dhanmondi in Dhaka on June 6 this year and offered India’s technical assistance to digitalize and modernize the Museum.
He told Hasina that he was overwhelmed by the visit to the Museum.
Modi invited Hasina to undertake an official visit to India at the earliest. She accepted the invitation.
At the outset, Hasina expressed condolences on the passing away of Suvra Mukherjee, wife of President Pranab Mukherjee. Modi thanked her for her special gesture of visiting India to attend the funeral.
Hasina recalled her family's deep ties with the family of Mukherjee over a long period of time, particularly during her exile in India post-assassination of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman on August 14, 1975.