Indian President Pranab Mukherjee with a delegation from Bangladesh led by Chairman of think tank Centre for Policy Dialogue, Prof Rehman Sobhan, at Rashtrapati Bhavan in New Delhi yesterday. Photo: PIB, India
Indian President Pranab Mukherjee yesterday pitched for "speedy implementation" of the decisions taken by India and Bangladesh to improve bilateral ties saying people should be able to see things happening quickly on the ground.
Addressing a group of prominent Bangladeshi personalities at the Rashtrapati Bhavan in New Delhi, Mukherjee called for expediting implementation of the projects already agreed on between the two countries, said a Rashtrapati Bhavan spokesperson in a release.
He also favoured a greater sub-regional cooperation between Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal and India, especially on improving connectivity and issue of transit.
Mukherjee, who became President in July, said India had the privilege of extending some assistance in the historical struggle of Bangladesh for freedom and would like to see Bangladesh developed and prosperous.
"There is broad consensus amongst various political parties in India that the two countries must develop and progress together," he was quoted in the release as saying.
Noting that the dialogue process between scholars of the two countries was extremely important, he said, such an exercise should identify critical areas where intervention by senior policymakers was required and bring those to the attention of the respective governments.
Mukherjee has received an invitation from Bangladesh government and expressed the hope to visit the country at a mutually convenient date.
The delegation praised Mukherjee and said the people of Bangladesh see him as a "sincere friend" and hope that bilateral relations under his guidance would reach new heights, the release said.
They also appreciated India's decision to grant zero duty access for Bangladeshi goods to Indian market.
The intellectuals who were in Delhi to attend the second Track-II Dialogue between the Asian Institute of Transport Development of India and the Centre for Policy Dialogue, Dhaka included Prof Rehman Sobhan, chairman of Centre for Policy Dialogue and former member of Planning Commission; Gowher Rizvi, foreign affairs advisor to the Bangladesh prime minister; Reza Ali, MP and member of Parliamentary Standing Committee on Ministry of Planning; Anisul Islam Mahmud, MP, vice president of Jatiya Party and Former foreign minister of Bangladesh; Nazrul Islam Khan, member of BNP National Standing Committee; Ambassador Farooq Sobhan, president of Bangladesh Enterprise Institute and former foreign secretary of Bangladesh; AK Azad, president of Federation of Bangladesh Chamber of Commerce and Industry and managing director of Ha-Meem Group.
Mahfuz Anam, editor and publisher of The Daily Star; Matiur Rahman, editor of Prothom Alo; Prof Ainun Nishat, vice chancellor of Brac University and eminent water expert; M Rahmatullah, Visiting Fellow, CPD and former director of UNESCAP and eminent transport expert; Debapriya Bhattacharya, Distinguished Fellow, CPD and former Bangladesh ambassador to WTO and UN Office in Geneva and Vienna; Prof Mustafizur Rahman, executive director of CPD; Tariq Karim, high commissioner of Bangladesh to India; and KL Thapar, chairman of Asian Institute of Transport Development also attended the meeting, among others.