Eastern Times Correspondent, Dhaka, 15 December: Bangladesh State Minister for Foreign Affairs M Shahriar Alam on Tuesday said Bangladesh and India, as the closest neighbours, will continue to work together to establish a secure South Asia for the benefit of all people.
“What’s needed is the positive mindset of our peoples towards relations. Equally, we need to understand each other’s concerns, risks and vulnerabilities as well as opportunities,” he said at a webinar titled “Bangladesh-India Relations: New Dimensions and Opportunities” organised by the Asian Confluence.
Indian High Commissioner to Bangladesh Vikram Kumar Doraiswami, among others, spoke at the webinar.
State Minister Shahriar said there is always a scope to broaden partnership between the two countries.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and her Indian counterpart Narendra Modi will have a Summit meeting virtually on December 17 during which the two countries are likely to sign four-five bilateral documents.
“The virtual Summit going to be held between two prime ministers is a testimony to the joint commitment to our shared history. We also expect to receive and host the Prime Minister of India next year,” said the State Minister.
Shahriar said Bangladesh-India friendship has passed the test of time through mutual respect and understanding of each other’s perspectives, concerns and priorities.
He said the relationship has its genesis in War of Liberation in 1971 and Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman maintained excellent relations with the Indian leadership.
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“We recall with deep gratitude the contribution of the government of India for standing firmly by us in our most difficult time,” he said.
Shahriar said the partnership is multifaceted and in the past few years, since Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina assumed office, they have attained some tangible goals in many areas, such as, land boundary and maritime boundary demarcation, security, connectivity, development cooperation, cultural exchange, power and energy, trade and commerce, defence exchange and so on.
He said the security cooperation together with a collective fight against terrorism and violent extremism continue to play an important role in achieving peace and stability in the region.
“We’re confident that the trajectory of our bilateral relations would guide the two countries to identify further areas of cooperation and make joint progress in these sectors,” Shahriar said.
The two countries are going to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the establishment of bilateral relations and Golden Jubilee of Bangladesh’s independence together.
India and Bangladesh have jointly celebrated the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi and going to organise joint programmes on the occasion of the birth centenary of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu.
“These are just a few instances of how we walk together, how we think alike and how we manage to collaborate with each other,” said the State Minister.
“Bangladesh and India also partner in cooperation in various regional and multilateral fora. Riding on the solid foundation of relations between Bangladesh and India, our Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman in his speech at Kolkata on February 6, 1972, floated the concept of regional cooperation in South Asia,” he said.