Prime Minister Narendra Modi along with his Bangladeshi counterpart Sheikh Hasina jointly inaugurated the Chilahati-Haldibari rail, linking the borders of the two neighbouring countries.
The two leaders also digitally inaugurated the Bangabandhu-Bapu Digital Exhibition and released a commemorative stamp on Sheikh Mujibur Rahman during a virtual summit between the two leaders.
“The message of Bangabandhu Sheikh is eternal for us and we also respect his leadership immensely. Bangabandhu’s legacy is visible in your (Hasina’s) deeds,” Prime Minister Modi said at the virtual summit with his Bangladeshi counterpart.
Prime Minister Modi said that it was a matter of ‘great pride’ to release a digital exhibition in the honour of Mahatma Gandhi and Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rehman adding that the two leaders would continue to inspire the youth residing in both the countries.
“It is a matter of pride for me that I am getting to release a digital exhibition on Mahatma Gandhi and Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rehman. I hope that their legacy continues to inspire the youth of our country,” he said further.
The summit is being held a day after Vijay Divas, which marks India’s victory over Pakistan in the 1971 war that led to the creation of Bangladesh.
India and Bangladesh have been making efforts to enhance transport and connectivity. The leadership on both sides have been committed to reviving and operationalising the 6 pre-1965 rail links between India and Bangladesh.
With the inauguration of the Haldibari-Chilahati rail link, 5 out of 6 rail links are currently operational. The other 4 operational rail links between India and Bangladesh connecting West Bengal with Bangladesh are Petrapole (India) – Benapole (Bangladesh), Gede (India) – Darshana (Bangladesh), Singhabad (India)-Rohanpur (Bangladesh) and Radhikapur (India)-Birol (Bangladesh).
The Haldibari-Chilahati rail link was part of the Broad Gauge main route from Kolkata to Siliguri. However, the war of 1965 effectively cut off all the railway links. To revive this erstwhile rail link, both sides have restored the link enhancing connectivity and people to people contacts on both sides.
Bangladesh is commemorating the year 2020 as Mujib Borsho – the birth centenary of the father of the nation of Bangladesh – Sheikh Mujibur Rahman popularly known as Bangabandhu.