Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina (L) with India's Narendra Modi. (Wikipedia) Photograph: (Others)
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday jointly inaugurated a border check post with his Bangladesh counterpart Sheikh Hasina through video conferencing and iterated the country's support to its neighbour in its anti-terror fight.
The Petrapole Integrated Check Post (ICP) in India's eastern West Bengal state is the second ICP on the India-Bangladesh border after one at the Agartala - Akhaura border. It is also the biggest land port in South Asia.
Inaugurating the ICP, Modi pitched for concerted efforts to curb militancy.
"You (Bangladesh) shouldn't consider yourself alone in the fight against militancy. India completely supports you. I also want to assure Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina that India is always ready for all possible support in the fight against militancy," Modi said.
Bangladeshi newpaper The Daily Star quoted Modi as saying “It's a matter of pain for me as well as for the people of my country that there were two terror incidents in Dhaka and Kishoreganj during the holy month of Ramadan. It's a sad moment when temples and their priests as also civilians were subjected to inhumane torture."
Bangladesh's security forces arrested four members of Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen (JMB) on Thursday, including a regional leader of the banned group blamed for the Islamist attack on a cafe in Dhaka in which at least 20 people were killed.
The Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) raided an apartment on the outskirts of the capital Dhaka and arrested the group's southern region leader and three other members, including a medical student.
Modi also assured more check posts to check cross-border terrorism.
"We will soon complete eight such integrated check posts on the border. Excellency, I firmly believe that economic development and connectivity are closely linked," he said.
Hasina added that the ICP would boost trade and people-to-people contacts.
"As business between the two countries grows, the economic well-being of the people will also improve substantially. So after congratulating everybody, I wish business and trade will get a fillip through Petrapole Integrated Check Post," she said.
According to the Daily Star, West Bengal chief minister Mamta Banerjee- who was also a part of the videoconference- said that West Bengal is the gateway to Bangladesh, Nepal and Bhutan.
Petrapole-Benapole is an important land border crossing as more than 50 per cent of India-Bangladesh trade passes through Petrapole.
The Petrapole ICP will provide better facilities for effective and efficient discharge of functions such as security, immigration, customs, quarantine, etc. while also providing support facilities for smooth cross-border movement of persons, goods and transport.
It will also serve to foster greater economic integration and connectivity between India and Bangladesh.
The two ministers spoke to each other while jointly inaugurating a border check post over videoconferencing on Thursday