India

Indian papers back strong ties with 'trusted friend' Bangladesh

Mr Modi (left) and Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina (right) signed important deals on Saturday Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Mr Modi (left) and Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina (right) signed important deals on Saturday

Papers have praised Prime Minister Narendra Modi's "special attention" on India's ties with neighbouring Bangladesh.

Mr Modi received a "warm welcome" in Dhaka over the weekend as the two countries signed several deals.

The deals include a historic agreement to simplify their border by exchanging more than 150 enclaves of land. Mr Modi ratified the deal with his counterpart Sheikh Hasina in Dhaka.

Papers see the deal as a "great achievement", saying it will pave the way for "better understanding between the two nations".

The Hindu newspaper praises Mr Modi's efforts in making all political players in India understand the "geopolitical importance" of Bangladesh.

"The consensus-building across India did not go unnoticed in Bangladesh, where Mr Modi is now being referred to as 'a genuine friend'. Thus, it is not coincidental that most of the mainstream media have had only favourable reportage and comments on the deals," it says in an editorial.

Most papers have described Mr Modi's decision to take the chief minister of West Bengal state, Mamata Banerjee, on his trip as a "political masterstroke".

The Hindu adds that Mr Modi's team made Ms Banerjee "understand the geostrategic significance of Bangladesh and how she may indeed expedite her own fall by working against its interest".

'Geographical importance'

But The Indian Express gives equal credit to Mr Modi's counterpart in Dhaka.

"Of course, that India has had a determined partner in the Sheikh Hasina regime has made it possible. The Bangladesh PM's unreserved cooperation on terrorism and a readiness to think out of the box have been key to constructing a genuine partnership between Delhi and Dhaka," it says in an editorial.

Image copyright MEA India
Image caption Mr Modi (left) was greeted on his arrival in Dhaka by Sheikh Hasina

Some papers have also highlighted Bangladesh's pledge of not allowing militants to use its soil for "anti-India activities".

The Asian Age says the Hasina government "is friendly to India and has been solicitous to this country as regards a variety of its concerns, including those relating to terrorism and the sheltering of north-eastern Indian insurgent groups".

Indian papers' praise for the landmark boundary agreement and business deals is in no short supply.

But others have gone beyond the main headlines to highlight the "geographical importance" of Bangladesh.

The Times of India says "India has been embroiled in a difficult relationship on its western border with Pakistan", but there are "multiple opportunities in the east waiting to be utilised".

"If Bangladesh can become India's land bridge to Southeast Asia, moribund economies of India's eastern and northeastern states can be revitalised," it says.

The two countries also started a new bus service that will be mutually beneficial, papers say.

The two PMs jointly flagged off buses from Dhaka to Guwahati and Agartala in India's northeast region.

"Transit through Bangladesh will help India bring its northeast closer and resolve some of the problems of that region even as Bangladesh gains access through India to markets in Bhutan and Nepal," The Times of India concludes.

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