Bangladesh a key economic partner of India, says M J Akbar
M J Akbar, Minister of State for External Affairs, has said the importance of Bangladesh as an economic partner of India has risen to greater heights in recent times. “â€˜Bangladesh is not only a co-member in SAARC but its importance to India for the much needed regional cooperation platforms like BBIN, BIMSTEC and IORA is immense. Bangladesh is the hub in terms of connectivity between India and neighbouring nations in the East as well as Indiaâ€™s North-East provinces,â€™â€™ he said.
Mozammel Haque, MP, and Bangladesh Minister of Liberation War Affairs described the current year as having a special importance as it is the 45th year of Bangladeshâ€™s independence. Indiaâ€™s bilateral engagement with Bangladesh has reached a new height under the leadership of current Prime Ministers of the both the countries and the societies of the both the countries are committed for continuous improvement and strengthening of bilateral relationship, he said.
They were speaking at the two day International Conference on Indo-Bangladesh Multi Sectoral Cooperation, organised by Institute of Social and Cultural Studies (ISCS) and supported by different ministries. The conference was inaugurated on Monday at New Delhiâ€™s Indira Gandhi National Centre of Arts (IGNCA).
In her keynote address, Sripriya Ranganathan, Joint Secretary in External Affairs Ministry said that Bangladesh is one of Indiaâ€™s premier ally since its formation in 1971. However, 2015 had been incredible for the India-Bangladesh relations. The two South Asian neighbours achieved breakthroughs in many areas of bilateral relations, including implementation of the Land Boundary Agreement (LBA), granting of transit facilities to Indiaâ€™s North Eastern states, broadening of cooperation in the energy sector, expansion of economic and security cooperation, increase of bilateral trade and signing of several agreements, especially up-gradation of cross-border connectivity and opening of new bus routes.
The International Conference marks an important milestone in the roadmap towards strengthening the Indo-Bangladesh Cooperation in various sectors. It seeks to provide information and working sessions on scope and schemes of bilateral cooperation in different sectors and thereby improve socio-economic stability in the sub-continent.
Bangladesh attaches high priority to building closer economic links with India and significantly improving physical connectivity to facilitate trade across the border as its shares the longest land border with India almost encircling the nation. India has been supportive of Bangladesh and has over the years entered into lasting cooperation arrangements in power generation and cross-border supply and sharing of water in perennial rivers flowing from India to Bangladesh.
Investment by Indian companies in Bangladesh continues to grow with the signing of bilateral Investment Promotion and Protection agreement. India is also working closely to nurture cooperation between Indian states bordering Bangladesh and Bangladesh. India is also strongly committed to the objectives of the BIMSTEC and Bangladesh being the host country of the BIMSTEC Secretariat would remain an important partner country. India also seeks to utilize opportunities of regional cooperation not only for economic goals but also for effectively addressing local developmental challenges and creation of regional public goods to fulfil the SDGs. Bangladeshâ€™s successful experiments of addressing developmental gaps and Indiaâ€™s models of people centric development offers opportunities of cooperation in this regard.
Bangladesh High Commissioner to India Syed Muazzem Ali and IGNCAâ€™s member-secretary Dr. Sachchidanand Joshi were also present.”