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Indo-Bangla ties unique: Shringla

  • Diplomatic Correspondent
  • 17 December, 2021 12:00 AM
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Indo-Bangla ties unique: Shringla

Indian Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla has said Bangladesh and India have reached the high point of a relationship and this very exceptional relation is tied by blood.

“We have reached high point of our relationship,” he said, adding: “India never sees this relationship with Bangladesh in the prism of other countries. Dhaka-Delhi ties are unique which is not comparable with bilateral relations between any other countries.”

The Indian foreign secretary came up with the statement while addressing a media briefing at Pan Pacific Sonargaon Hotel in Dhaka on Wednesday night following Indian President Ram Nath Kovind meetings with his Bangladesh counterpart Md Abdul Hamid and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.

Indian High Commissioner to Bangladesh Vikram Kumar Doraiswami conducted the briefing which highlighted various aspects of the Indian President’s first-day engagement in Dhaka as well as the entire range of bilateral relations between the two countries.

President Kovind arrived in Dhaka on Wednesday morning on a three-day state visit to Bangladesh.

Diplomats said India and Bangladesh have set examples to the world during the pandemic when the whole world was busy fighting the corona virus by closing the border.

Two VVIP visits took place in one year in 2021 --- one by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in March and the current visit of President Ram Nath Kovind. These gestures clearly prove that in any crisis one country will stand by the other, they said.

Responding to a question from the Daily Sun correspondent, Shringla said Bangladesh and India made exponential increase in bilateral ties and achieved “incredible success” in resolving “intractable issues in the most amicable manner”.

“In the next 10 years you will see very Bangladesh and India are changed countries…the cooperation we have is very important,” he said, adding “we both are aspiring nations”.

Shringla, who served as Indian High Commissioner in Dhaka, said New Delhi was looking for collaboration in cutting edge issues like green technology, renewable energy, IT and digital platform to create employment opportunities for youths.

“Certainly we are looking to the future as per as the next 50 years concern... we are looking at dynamic growth,” the top bureaucrat of India’s foreign office said.

Responding to another question, the Indian foreign secretary said they do not look at their relationship with Bangladesh in the prism of a third country and preferred not to comment on any issue that involves any third country.

“We deal with each other on a bilateral basis. We’re close friends. We’re neighbours. We cooperate in a wide range of areas. I hesitate to speak about what third countries are doing,” he said.

Asked for comments about increased Chinese engagement with Bangladesh in range of areas, Shringla said Dhaka-Delhi ties were unique which was not comparable with bilateral relations between any other countries.

“Our ties are unique . . . we don’t look at what relationship are (Bangladesh has) with other countries when we are celebrating uniqueness of our own relationship with Bangladesh,” he said.

In reply to a question on Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (QUAD), a strategic platform of the United States, India, Japan and Australia, Shringla said the idea is to work with the countries in the Indo-Pacific region to provide them to with the means to attain the common vision of a free, open, transparent and inclusive Indo-Pacific region.

“Obviously, the idea is we work with the countries,” he said, adding that it is Bangladesh’s sovereign decision to make but the nature of Quad is such that they want to work with other countries in partnership. “In that partnership, I think Bangladesh is an important partner.

As far as Quad is concerned, Shringla said, the name itself suggests there are four countries and at this point of time obviously there is no talk of anything.

“Essentially, the thing is that these four countries have to work with other countries in the Indo-Pacific in a positive, constructive and cooperative manner,” he said, highlighting the activities whether it is on vaccines, cooperation in climate change, new technology or other areas.

Asked whether there is any meeting planned with the opposition leaders in Bangladesh, Shringla recalled the then Indian President Pranab Mukherjee’s visit to Bangladesh in 2013 when he invited opposition leader Khaleda Zia and others to come and meet. “The fact is that the meeting didn’t take place…..”

He said this time is a ceremonial occasion which is a very significant, unique and special event and on this visit they are looking at commemorative events only.

The Indian foreign secretary said the Indian president discussed broad ranges of bilateral relationship with the spirit of 1971 and legacy of Bangabandhu during his meeting with the Bangladesh Prime Minister.

Responding to a question on defence cooperation, he said Bangladesh will soon get some defence items from India under US$ 500 million Line of Credit (LoC) that had been extended to Bangladesh for purchasing defence equipment.

“I’m told that under this Line of Credit several items have been identified and fast-tracked. They are fairly in advance stages of the process,” he said, adding, “We will see some defence items being exported and coming to Bangladesh. “This is something we would like to see.”

The foreign secretary also highlighted the potential of joint manufacturing in the defence sector which is also something they want to see enhanced.

Asked about the updates on India’s stance on the Rohingya crisis, Shringla said India always called for sustainable speedy return of the displaced Rohingya people to Rakhine state of Myanmar.

On another question on boarder killing, Shringla said the highest level of the two countries leadership was sincere in ensuring a peaceful frontier.

He informed the journalists that India’s Border Security Force’s (BSF) Director General is scheduled to visit Bangladesh on December 18-19 to discuss the border issues.

Joint Secretary (Bangladesh-Myanmar) at the Ministry of External Affairs Smita Pant and Director Rajesh Uike were, among others, present at the briefing.