50yrs of Bangladesh-India Ties: Focus should be on trade, connectivity
Mentioning that the Bangladesh-India relationship is anchored in history and culture, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina yesterday said the two countries now should concentrate on people-to-people contact, trade, business and connectivity as the issues became increasingly important for the two sides.
She said this in her video message screened at a programme marking Maitri Diwas (Friendship Day).
Indian Council of World Affairs arranged the event in New Delhi yesterday on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of India-Bangladesh Diplomatic Relations as India recognised Bangladesh on December 6, 1971.
Hasina said the relationship between the two countries is anchored in history, culture, language and shared values of secularism, democracy, and countless other commonalities. "Our bonds of friendship have further been strengthened, diversified and expanded in recent years due to regular high-level political interactions and exchanges."
Despite restrictions imposed by Covid-19, the relationship at all levels has remained stable and strong, she said, adding that this was evident in excellent cooperation and collaboration in dealing with the pandemic.
"Our partnership is not confined to treaties, MoUs, bilateral agreements that provide the formal structures for our working relations. Today, our broad partnership has matured, taking dynamic, comprehensive and strategic shape, and is based on sovereignty, equality, trust and mutual respect," said the PM.
Noting that India recognised Bangladesh as an independent and sovereign state on December 6, 1971, Hasina said Bangladesh and India are celebrating the Golden Jubilee of establishment of diplomatic relations. "This is a milestone in the journey of our bilateral relations."
The premier said this anniversary is an opportunity to reflect on the foundation of the bilateral relations of the two countries and the path ahead. "It's also an occasion for both the countries to recommit to work towards further strengthening the longstanding dynamic partnership."
She expressed confidence that together the two countries and two peoples will continue to turn their vision and ideas into realities, for decades to come.
The foundation of Bangladesh-India relations was laid by Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, said Hasina.
"We've a very special relationship with India. The relationship is the friendliest. The friendship of Bangladesh and India is in our hearts. The bonds of friendship will remain firm and long-lasting," she quoted Bangabandhu as saying in 1972.
Hasina also recalled the generosity of late Indian prime minister Indira Gandhi and her government, leaders of other political parties, and overall the people of India towards the people of Bangladesh in 1971. They provided accommodation to 10 million refugees from Bangladesh, gave space for the Mujibnagar government and waged a diplomatic campaign in favour of Bangladesh, she mentioned.
State Minister for Cultural Affairs KM Khalid, Indian Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla, Bangladesh High Commissioner in New Delhi Muhammad Imran and ICWA Director General Vijay Thakur Singh also spoke at the function.
Indian PM Modi has said he will work with his Bangladesh counterpart to further expand and deepen ties between the two countries.
"I look forward to continue working with PM Sheikh Hasina to further expand and deepen our ties," he tweeted yesterday as the two countries celebrated "Maitri Diwas".
India was one of the first countries to have established bilateral diplomatic ties with independent Bangladesh.
"Today India and Bangladesh commemorate Maitri Diwas. We jointly recall and celebrate the foundations of our 50 years of friendship," Modi said.