India-Bangladesh Current Affairs - 2019
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India and Bangladesh have decided to construct a bridge over Mizoram’s Khawthlangtuipui river (also known as Karnaphuli river) to facilitate trade and to improve communication between the two countries. The decision was taken after officials from both the side met at Tlabung town in Mamit district of Mizoram. The Mamit district is situated adjacent to Khagrachari district of Southeast Bangladesh.
The proposed bridge is expected to be constructed as closer as possible to the nearest custom station located in the Bangladesh side.
The proposed bridge is expected to serve as an important link between India and Bangladesh. It would improve road connectivity between the two regions. The proposed bridge is also expected to strengthen the ties between the people of the two countries.
Mizoram has a 318 km unfenced border with Bangladesh. In March 2017, the Union Government had announced that half of the 4,096-km long border India shares with Bangladesh has been fenced. The remaining half will be fenced by 2019 deadline. India and Bangladesh share a 4,096 km land boundary, largest among the international boundaries that India shares with its neighbours. The border runs along five states, West Bengal (2,216.7 km), Assam (263 km), Meghalaya (443 km), Tripura (856 km) and Mizoram (318 km).
India will give Rs. 35 crore rupees to children of freedom fighters in Bangladesh under the new ‘Muktijodha scholarship’ scheme in the next five years. Under the scheme, students at higher secondary level will get a one-time grant of Tk 20,000 (Rs 15,370) and students at the undergraduate level will get a grant of Tk 50,000 (Rs 38,430). In addition, all freedom fighters will be eligible for multiple entries on Indian visa for a period of five years. Also, every year 100 of them will be entitled to free medical treatment in Indian hospitals.
Muktijodha Scholarship Scheme was initiated in 2006 to support the descendants of the 1971 Freedom Fighters. So far, more than 10,000 scholarships worth Tk150 million have been granted to the descendants under the scheme. It is India who aided Bangladesh to gain independence from Pakistan in 1971.
During Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s recent visit to India, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had announced that India will provide scholarships to another 10,000 students under the new ‘Muktijodha scholarship’. During the visit, India and Bangladesh had signed 22 agreements in various fields such as defence, nuclear cooperation, judicial sector, earth sciences, navigation, peaceful uses of outer space, to boost bilateral cooperation. India also announced concessional Line of Credit (LoC) of $4.5 billion to Bangladesh for projects in priority sectors. Moreover, India also gave LoC of $500 million to Bangladesh for defence purchases.
Bangladesh gives away ‘Friends of Bangladesh Liberation War Award’ to individuals and organizations who had extended the most crucial support for Bangladesh’s independence struggle. Former Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi was the first to be honoured with this award. The other prominent recipients include President Pranab Mukherjee and former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee.