Bangladesh and China today signed 26 agreements in the key areas of power, road and railway connectivity as Chinese President Xi Jinping held talks with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and vowed to elevate bilateral ties to a long term strategic partnership.
"We are good friends and partners," a spokesman of the Prime Minister's office quoted Xi as saying after his bilateral talks with the Bangladeshi Premier.
He said Xi sought to elevate bilateral relations to the level of a "long term strategic partnership".
The Chinese leader's comments came as he along with Hasina witnessed the signing of 26 bilateral agreements and MoUs mainly on power, road and railway connectivity after bilateral talks, hours after Xi's arrival here for a two-day visit.
"The two leaders simultaneously opened six projects," the spokesman said, without giving details of the projects.
Earlier, Bangladesh rolled out the red carpet for Xi, the first Chinese head of state to visit the country in 30 years.
A 21-gun salute marked Xi's arrival as he stepped down from a special Air China flight and was received by Bangladesh President Abdul Hamid.
Four Bangladeshi Air Force jets escorted the aircraft carrying the Chinese leader as it entered the country's airspace while a contingent of army, navy and air force accorded him a guard of honour after he landed.
"We are ready to work with the Bangladeshi side to further deepen our political mutual trust and elevate our relations and practical cooperation to a higher level," Xi said in a statement to the Chinese media at the airport.
Prime Minister Hasina had told Chinese state-run Xinhua news agency on the eve of Xi's visit that the tour would usher in a new era of "intensive cooperation".
"We are very happy and feel honoured that President Xi is coming to Bangladesh. I believe that President Xi's visit will also be more important for South Asia," she said.
Hasina described China as Bangladesh's "largest trading partner and said that her country considers China as a "trusted partner" in realising its dreams.
"China is the leading generator of many of our mega projects in terms of finance, capitalisation and technology," she said.
Analysts say Dhaka is seeking to develop economic ties with China while keeping its warm, strategic and political relations with India, as its traditional ally.
Foreign Minister Mahmood Ali, told a media briefing yesterday, that Xi's visit would have no negative impact on Bangladesh's relations with other countries, particularly with India.
"We don't think so," he said when asked if the visit could have any impact on Bangladesh's very warm relations with New Delhi.
(Reopens FGN 13) The visit is the first by any Chinese head of state to Bangladesh in three decades after President Li Xiannian's visit in March 1986. China, earlier this week, had said the visit would be a "milestone" as "both sides would make deals and bilateral relations would be improved". Bangladesh's mainstream media welcomed the Chinese President.
The mass circulation Prothom Alo published an article written by Xi in a Chinese newspaper with the title "A Golden Success of Bangladesh-China Cooperation".