Talk by Hon’ble Foreign Minister of Bangladesh, H.E. Dr. Hasan Mahmud M.P. on Bangladesh-India Relations in the last Decade
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On 8 February, Vivekananda International Foundation (VIF) organized a special talk by Hon’ble Foreign Minister of Bangladesh, H.E. Dr. Hasan Mahmud M.P. on "Bangladesh-India Relations in the last Decade". The Foreign Minister was joined by the High Commissioner of Bangladesh to India, H. E. Mr. Md. Mustafizur Rahman. Dr. Arvind Gupta, Director, VIF, chaired the session and made the welcome remarks. The talk was followed by an engaging question and answer session. The event was attended by members of the diplomatic community, scholars, strategic community and the media personals.

The talk primarily focussed on the relationship between India and Bangladesh which is bonded by blood and emotional connects. H.E. Dr. Hasan Mahmud started his presentation by thanking the Indian armed forces and the people for helping Bangladesh during the latter’s liberation movement. It was underlined that India- Bangladesh relationship has gone to new heights under the leadership of PM Sheikh Hasina and her Indian counterpart PM Narendra Modi. The relationship has evolved in the last few decades especially in sectors like security, defence, infrastructure, connectivity, education, tourism and people to people engagement. It was highlighted that Bangladesh under Sheikh Hasina government is maintaining a Zero tolerance approach to terrorism—a policy applauded by the Indian leadership.

It was further asserted that the relationship between India and Bangladesh is going through its “Sonali Adhyay” or golden phase and has emerged as a role model in South Asia. The year 2023 was a remarkable year in promoting the unique relationship between both the countries. For instance, several initiatives such as the 130 kms-long cross-border India-Bangladesh Friendship Pipeline, the 6th cross-border rail link between Agartala station in India and Akhaura in Bangladesh, and Khulna- Mongla rail projects were jointly inaugurated by the PM of both the nations last year. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi had also invited Sheikh Hasina to attend the G20 Summit which India concluded successfully in 2023. Moreover, in multi-lateral forums like BBIN (Bangladesh, Bhutan, India and Nepal), IORA (Indian Ocean Rim Association) and BIMSTEC (Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation), both the neighbouring countries cooperate with each other on issues of mutual concern.

While defining the current relationship, it was underscored that at present the highest priority has been given on three areas by both sides. Firstly, active cooperation in matters related to security, enhancement of mutual trust and confidence; secondly promotion of connectivity—both physical and people to people engagements; and thirdly an all-round economic cooperation between the two countries on a win-win basis.

In addition, the talk made an assessment of both the prospects as well as the challenges in cooperation between India and Bangladesh. A new roadmap for further strengthening the broad based relations between India and Bangladesh was analyzed in the course of discussion. It was also stated that the two sides should address the issue of border security, long pending Teesta river dispute, and revoke the trade barriers for facilitation of trade and economic activities in the region. It is paramount for India and Bangladesh to work together, strengthen ties and people to people relations both at the bi-lateral as well as the sub regional level for peace, development and security of the region.

Event Date 
February 8, 2024

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