India is looking forward to host Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in October, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar said on Tuesday as he called on her and held a “productive discussion” with his counterpart and offered all possible support to Dhaka to realise the country’s development agenda.
Jaishankar is in Dhaka on a two-day visit, his first to Bangladesh after assuming the charge as External Affairs Minister.
“External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar called on Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. Thanking the Prime Minister for her hospitality, the EAM said that India is looking forward to hosting her in October in New Delhi. They held a productive discussion wherein matters of mutual interest were discussed,” External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar tweeted.
Speaking to the media after bilateral talks with his Bangladeshi counterpart A K Abdul Momen, Jaishankar said he had very productive discussions on issues of mutual interest.
“This is my first visit to Bangladesh as External Affairs Minister and the purpose of this visit is both to affirm what is being a very strong partnership as well as to prepare for your Prime Minister’s visit to India in the autumn and to signal publicly the importance that they attach to the relationship,” Jaishankar said.
“In India’s Neighbourhood First Policy, we see the India- Bangladesh relationship very much as a model. Our ties have actually transcended a strategic partnership and we are honoured to be a leading development partner of Bangladesh.
“We would like to offer all possible support to realise Bangladesh’s development agenda. This is in India’s interest as well,” he said.
“We believe that this is today the Golden Age – the ‘sonali adhyay’ in India-Bangladesh ties and that is thanks to the vision and statesmanship of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina,” he said.
Earlier as Foreign Secretary and now as Foreign Minister, Jaishankar said it was his privilege to be associated with this relationship and to make sure that this exemplary partnership realises its goals.
“I would like to underline that it is very much in our mutual benefit that this partnership grow. We believe that when it comes to security this improved partnership against crime, extremism and terrorist groups is of direct benefit to the people of both countries.
“In terms of connectivity, the increased connectivity in air, sea, waterways and surface transport generates growth and income for both sides. We would like to step up this partnership and realise all the potentials of connectivity,” he said.
Energy has been another very important aspect of India’s partnership with Bangladesh.
“We have stakes in each others’ success and we have many energy sharing projects which we are discussing including private and public sector partnerships and we hope to take those forward,” the minister said.
“When it comes to trade, we are ready to move to the next stage of our economic partnership as Bangladesh’s economy develops and matures and we will make progress at a pace which is comfortable for Bangladesh. Water resources is also an important subject and India looks forward to making progress to find mutually acceptable formulas to share water from our 54 shared rivers,” Jaishankar said.
When it comes to people to people ties, India’s largest consular operations in the world today are in Bangladesh and the country was very proud of that, he said.
“We want to make travel as seamless as possible for our Bangladeshi friends to visit us,” he said.
“We look forward to sharing your celebrations of the centenary of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman’s birth and the 50th anniversary of the liberation of Bangladesh,” he said.
“While a lot of our discussions today are focused on our bilateral cooperation, we also address the issue of displaced persons from Myanmar,” he said.
The two sides agreed that the safe, speedy and sustainable return of displaced persons is in the national interest of all the three countries Bangladesh, Myanmar and India.
“And we reaffirm our readiness to provide more assistance to the displaced persons in Bangladesh and to improve socio-economic conditions in Rakhine State and you are all aware that we handed over 250 houses last month in that context,” he said.
“Our partnership with Bangladesh remains an example of what neighbours can do if they work together as true partners. The Government of Prime Minister Modi is determined to ensure that this partnership is truly a role model in South Asia and for the world,” he added.