While inaugurating a new train service between Kolkata and Khulna in Bangladesh, through video conferencing, both Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina stressed on people to people contact between the two countries for socio-economic upliftment.
At around 11:30 am Bangladesh time (11:00am Indian time) Prime Minister Hasina, Prime Minister Modi and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee through video conferencing flagged off the "Bandhan Express;" inaugurated second Bhairab and second Titas Railway bridges in Bangladesh and the end-to-end immigration and custom checks for the Maîtree Express from Kolkata to Dhaka.
In her address Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina stressed on stronger ties between the two countries. "Bondhon (ties) should not be limited to Railway services alone but it should cement ties between citizens of both the nations for the socio-economic development of both countries" remarked the Bangladesh Prime Minister.
She stated that the two nations were trying to revive all the railway links that existed between the two countries before 1965.
"The Bandhan train service was a long cherished dream of both the nations. It is running after 52 long years. It will not only make travel easier but will promote cultural exchange, tourism and development. It will further strengthen ties between the two nations" stated Prime Minister Hasina.
The Bangladesh Prime Minister stated that there are plans to revive all the rail links that existed between the two countries before the services were halted in 1965.
"With the Line of Credit from India this is being made possible. We are using the Line of Credit for improving railway services in the country along with other sectors" stated Hasina.
Not only railways, India has been jointly working with Bangladesh in the avenues of internet services and space research stated the Prime Minister. "Both the nations work for the development of the common masses which ultimately will result in peace and stability in this region" stated Hasina.
Incidentally the two new railways bridges in Bangladesh, built under the Second Indian Line of Credit and inaugurated on Wednesday is expected to improve the Dhaka-Chittagong and Dhaka-Sylhet train services.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi beginning his speech in Bengali stated "Aaj theke amder Maitree Bondhon aro shudriro holo" (From today our friendly ties have been further cemented.)
Prime Minister Modi stated that relations should be strengthened between neighbours rising above protocol.
"Protocol should not come in between two neighbouring countries. There should be visits and exchanges between neighbouring countries" stated Prime Minister Modi.
However the Indian Prime Minister stressed on person to person connects. "People to people connectivity is the most important. Both the trains between India and Bangladesh namely Maitree and Bandhan will promote this person to person connectivity" stated Prime Minister Modi.
The Indian Prime Minister assured that step by step the two countries will revive all the railway lines that existed between the two countries prior to 1965.
"Historical links between the two countries will further be strengthened and will reach newer heights" stated West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee inviting Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to visit Kolkata.
The Bandhan Express will cover a distance of 177km between Kolkata and Khulna in around four and a half hours. From Kolkata the train will travel through Benapole, Petrapole, Jessore to Khulna.
Indian Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj was also present at the inauguration video conferencing along with Prime Minister Modi.
The new Bondhon Express has 456 seats in its 312 cabins along with 144 chairs. It can accommodate 418 passengers.