Wounded freedom fighter Golam Mostafa Bir Bikram lights a candle to inaugurate a two-day conference on Bangladesh-India relations at senate hall, Dhaka University, yesterday. Photo: Courtesy
Regular interaction among educationists, cultural activists, and civil society members can play a major role in improving Bangladesh and India relations, speakers from the two countries said at a conference yesterday.
They said visit of different socio-cultural groups and holding of programmes on either side of the border can also help change the mindset of the two peoples and strengthen bond between them.
The two-day conference on "Bangladesh Liberation War and Indo-Bangla Relations" began at Dhaka University senate hall yesterday. Dhaka University, Assam University, and Burdwan University jointly organised the programme on the occasion of 40 years of independence of Bangladesh.
A 24-member team from India is taking part in conference, which is a follow up to last year's conference held at Burdwan University, West Bengal.
Hashim Abdul Halim, who had been the speaker of West Bengal Legislative Assembly for three decades, said there are many things to shape the relation of two nations apart from religion.
“We have separated long ago, but we still maintain the common values, culture, and language. Wherever you go around the world, you will find homogeneity among Bangalees”, he said.
Hashim also suggested for a change in political and development arenas to renew Indo-Bangla relations.
Foreign Secretary Mohamed Mijarul Quayes termed the conference a window of opportunity for taking forward the relations.
He said Manmohan Singh's September visit to Dhaka was a historic one through which both the nations gained many things although there was discussion that nothing has happened.
“The visit has three dimensions. First, we have discussed the pending issues, second, we have talked about the present status of our relations, and third, we have signed a framework agreement for future cooperation”, he said, stressing that both nations, however, have to play due roles.
Prof Tapodhir Bhattacharjee, vice-chancellor, Assam University, said Bangladesh may be a small country compared to India, but both can take lesson from each other. “Everything should be on the basis of equality”, he said.
Indian High Commissioner in Bangladesh Rajeet Mitter said India-Bangladesh relation was cemented in 1971 and revived in the last two years through the historic visits of the two prime ministers.
Education Minister Nurul Islam Nahid, DU Vice Chancellor Prof AAMS Arefin Siddique, freedom fighter Golam Mostafa Bir Bikram, Burdwan University Pro-VC Dr Shorosimohan Dan, and DU's Prof Mesbah Kamal took part in the conference among others.