Bangladesh is one of the major engines of growth in the region with rapidly improving socio-economic indicators and there are many areas in which India has learnt from this neighbour and will continue to do so, Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla said on Monday.
In his remarks at the signing ceremony of the MoU on establishing the Bangabandhu Chair at the Delhi University, Shringla said Bangladesh”s founding father Sheikh Mujibur Rahman understood that Indians and Bangladeshis have a shared future and was a strong proponent of India-Bangladesh friendship and brotherly ties.
“I am happy to note that we have, together, built on that vision. India and Bangladesh continue to attach a very special importance to their bilateral relations. By any indicator, the bonds between our two nations are marked by a rare degree of closeness, substance and understanding,” the foreign secretary said.
Two of the major pillars of Indian diplomacy — Neighborhood First and Act East policies- find common ground in our work with Bangladesh, Shringla noted.
The fact that Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s first foreign visit since the Covid pandemic has been to Dhaka, speaks for itself, he said.
Sheikh Mujibur Rahman led a great battle for freedom and also created a nation, Shringla said.
“Whether one calls him Bangabandhu or the father of the nation, there is no doubt that one is referring to a very major historical figure who literally shaped the destiny of nations,” the foreign secretary said.
Noting that Sheikh Mujibur Rahman also laid the foundations for his country’s growth and development, Shringla said Bangladesh is today one of the major engines of growth in the region with impressive economic expansion rates and rapidly improving socio-economic indicators.
“There are many areas in which we have learnt from Bangladesh and will continue to do so,” he said.
Shringla said 2021 is a very special year for India-Bangladesh relations.
Prime Minister Modi had mentioned during his visit to Bangladesh in March, this year marks a “Triveni” — the commemoration of Mujib Borsho; the 50th anniversary of diplomatic ties and the Golden Jubilee of the Liberation War of Bangladesh, he noted.
Shringla said Sheikh Mujibur Rahman was all the more remarkable for being a strong voice against radicalism and extremism of any kind.
“His message of friendship and moderation has a special resonance in today’s world where a pandemic has accentuated fault-lines and divisions,” he said.
“Bangabandhu is revered in India. His struggles, his accomplishments and his values continue to inspire. The establishment of the Bangabandhu Chair in this special year of ‘Triveni’, is therefore a fitting tribute to this great leader, his life and his work,” Shringla said.
With the signing of the MoU on the Bangabandhu Chair, one of the most significant commitments made during the PM”s visit stands fulfilled, he said.
“I take this opportunity to felicitate the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) under the stewardship of the President and Director General for establishing this Chair at such short notice,” he said.
“I would request ICCR to also consider the possibility of establishing an Indian Chair in Bangladesh in future,” Shringla said.
Today’s event also draws attention to a happy coincidence as next year, Bangladesh will continue with the commemoration of the 50th anniversary of its independence, while India will celebrate the 75th year of its independence, the foreign secretary said.
“It will be an occasion for us to reflect, and draw satisfaction from our common journey thus far. It will also be an occasion to imagine and develop a vision for our shared journey ahead,” Shringla said.