Bangladesh-India Foreign Secretaries expressed their satisfaction with the bilateral ties
Special Correspondent Anowarul Hoque Bhuiyan
07 December 2021
Foreign Secretary of Bangladesh Mr. Masud Bin Momen and Foreign Secretary of India Mr. Harsh Vardhan Shringla carried out a comprehensive review of the bilateral ties. Both the Foreign Secretaries expressed their satisfaction at the excellent relations between the two countries and noted that 2021 is a landmark year for Bangladesh since the country is celebrating three epochal events – Birth Centenary of the Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, Golden Jubilee of Bangladesh’s Independence, and the 50th anniversary of establishing Bangladesh-India diplomatic relations. In this context, they expressed satisfaction at the joint celebration of Moitree Dibosh (Friendship Day) at 20 capitals across the world, including Dhaka and New Delhi on 6 December 2021, to mark the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations.
During their discussion, the Foreign Secretaries of Bangladesh and India reviewed the progress of the entire gamut of the areas of cooperation, which includes trade and investment, border management, connectivity, water resources management, power, energy, and cooperation in the health sector dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic. Foreign Secretary Masud stressed on the smooth and uninterrupted supply of AstreaZeneca COVISHIELD Vaccines purchased through MoU signed between Serum Institute of India and BEXIMCO Pharmaceuticals Ltd. The two Foreign Secretaries also discussed new and emerging areas of cooperation including eco-friendly transportation, green technologies and renewable energy noting that there was scope for strategizing synergies for mutual benefit.
Foreign Secretary Masud enumerated that India is the closest and most important neighbor for Bangladesh, noting that over the last five decades, both the countries have witnessed remarkable progress in a number of areas. He stressed that the visit of both the Hon’ble President and the Prime Minister of India to Bangladesh within the same year is a testimony of the warm relationships that exist between the two countries. Referring to the protracted Rohingya crisis, Foreign Secretary Masud requested the support of India to facilitate the safe, secured and sustainable repatriation of Rohingya refugees to Myanmar as the security risks from the crisis would not just remain confined within Bangladesh.
Foreign Secretary Shringla thanked Ambassador Masud for the warm hospitality and the arrangements for the visit. He noted that Bangladesh is a major pillar of India’s neighbourhood first policy. He expressed his satisfaction that both the countries have closely cooperated in addressing challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic.
In the afternoon, Foreign Secretary Shringla paid a call on the Hon’ble Foreign Minister H.E. Dr. A.K. Abdul Momen, M.P., at his office in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Foreign Minister Momen said that India is Bangladesh’s best friend. Both sides expressed their satisfaction on the ongoing cooperation and the high-level engagements even in the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Foreign Minister underscored that despite the goodwill and excellent relations between the two countries, the killing of Bangladesh nationals by the Indian border security forces continued to remain an irritant and requested the Indian Foreign Secretary to take up the matter with all the relevant agencies in India. Foreign Minister stressed on promoting robust trade and commerce between the two countries for mutual benefit. He also requested the Indian side to take necessary measures in completing the “Swadhinota Sharak” connecting Mujibnagar to Kolkata as a symbol of friendship between the two countries. Foreign Minister recalled that the two countries had resolved many of the outstanding issues in a spirit of understanding and expressed hope that all outstanding issues, including early signing of the Teesta Water sharing Agreement and equitable comprehensive water sharing agreement for other common rivers.
Foreign Secretary Shringla appreciated the transformative socio-economic development in the recent years under the dynamic and visionary leadership of Prime Minister Her Excellency Sheikh Hasina. He added that peaceful and prosperous Bangladesh is mutually beneficial for both the countries. Foreign Secretary Shringla arrived today in the morning on a two-day visit. Later, Foreign Secretary Shringla also paid a courtesy call to Hon’ble Minister of Road Transport and Bridges, H.E. Mr. Obaidul Quader, MP. In the meeting, both sides stressed the need to strengthen connectivity for the mutual benefit. He is expected to meet Prime Minister Her Excellency Sheikh Hasina tomorrow and depart Dhaka for New Delhi on the same day.