Indian External Affairs Minister Dr. S. Jaishankar concluded his day-long visit here on Thursday night reaffirming the robust Bangladesh-India partnership.
He emphasised greater connectivity as the key gamechanger, bilaterally and regionally.
The two sides prepared ground for the first international visit of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi since COVID-19 set in.
The special aircraft carrying the Indian External Affairs Minister and his entourage took off at 09:40 pm from Bangabandhu Air Base.
Director General, South Asia at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Bangladesh High Commissioner saw them off.
He held a bilateral meeting with his Bangladesh counterpart Dr AK Abdul Momen and met Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.
In the evening, the India’s External Affairs Minister Dr S Jaishankar inaugurated a new cultural centre in Dhaka.
Jaishankar said he is confident that the new cultural centre will be a centre of energy for the very unique relations between Bangladesh and India.
He highlighted the importance of culture in daily life and shared cultural heritage between the two countries.
"Our shared cultural heritage is the strength of our partnership. It is the primary driver of our people-to-people connectivity," Jaishankar said.
He said he was proud to inaugurate the centre in the month of Bangladesh's independence and a few days after the International Mother Language Day on February 21.
India this year recognised two Bangladeshis -- Sanjida Khatun, Bangladesh's renowned musicologist and founder of Chhayanaut Institute, and Liberation War veteran Col Quazi Sajjad Ali Zahir -- with the Padma Shri Award, the highest civilian award of India.
"I am delighted to dedicate this new Indian Cultural Centre to the service of the people of Bangladesh and the friendship of our two countries," said Jaishankar.
Indian High Commissioner to Bangladesh Vikram Kumar Doraiswami was also present at the inauguration of the cultural centre at India House.
He arrived in Dhaka in the morning on a brief official visit to take forward the relations between the two countries.
Also read: No crime, no border killing: Jaishankar
Bangladesh and India are working to prepare for the planned visit of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
"It’ll be a very memorable visit [as it’ll be] the Prime Minister‘s first travel outside India since the Coronavirus pandemic as well as his second as PM to Bangladesh," Jaishankar said.
He said this is a very special year, when both countries mark the Mujib Borsho, 50 years of Bangladesh‘s Liberation and 50 years of bilateral relations.
"This truly highlights the importance we attach to these three anniversaries, as well as the enormous regard we have for Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and Bangladesh. Our relations transcend orthodox partnerships," he said.
A training programme on disaster preparedness concluded with the participation of volunteers under the Cyclone Preparedness Programme of the government in Cox’s Bazar on Thursday.
The training titled ‘Intensive Disaster Response & Rescue (ComFIDRe)’ ended at Orchid Blue Hotel at Inani in Cox’s Bazar.
Certificates were given among the 24 participants (15 males and 9 females).
With this, a total of 85 participants (49 males and 36 females), who hailed from different areas of this district, took part in the training held in three separate phases.
The training session was divided into three phases. The 1st phase started on November 8 last year. The 2nd phase started on January 17 and the 3rd phase (spanning five days) from February 28 this year.
BRAC, one of the largest NGOs in the world, organised the training activities with the financial support of Global Affairs Canada (GAC) and the Australian government.
Bangladesh Fire Service and Civil Defence was an associate partner in the training.
The participants were imparted both practical as well as theoretical knowledge on a landslide, fire-fighting system, emergency rescue and first aid.
They were trained on how to come to the aid of the victims during a disaster.
After receiving the training, the volunteers are expected to aid the main rescuers during a disaster.
Monir Hossain, instructor of training complex section of Fire Service and Civil Defence; Iqbal Bahar, deputy assistant director of Fire Service; Newton Das, Deputy Assistant Director, Fire Service & Civil Defence; and others were present as trainers.
On behalf of BRAC, Md Abdul Motin Shardar, head of host community programme under BRAC’s Humanitarian Crisis Management Programme(HCMP); Shuvo Kumar Saha, sector specialist of Disaster Risk Reduction Programme under HCMP of BRAC and Matiar Rahman, assistant project officer under HCMP of BRAC were present.
Moushumi Arzu, one of the participants, who has graduated from Eden Mohila College while expressing her reaction, observed that it would be our big achievement if we can utilize the knowledge received in the training.
Three people were killed in road accidents in Dhaka's Khilkhet, Postagola Bridge and Jatrabari areas on Thursday.
The deceased were identified as Ashik Abdullah Helal, 42, in-charge of a private security guard company, Prasenjit, 30, a toll collector, and Abdul Kader Mia, 60.
Police said Ashik was talking with a security guard near Police Housing – located at 300 feet road under Khilkhet Police Station – at around 5:30am.
Then a speedy drum truck appeared out of nowhere and fled the scene hitting Ashik.
Ashik – who would live in the Police Housing project area – died on the spot, said Sub-Inspector Md Shamimul Islam of Khilkhet Police Station.
Toll collector Prasenjit sustained serious injuries while chasing an oil-laden Dhaka-bound lorry from Mawa.
"The lorry driver was trying to flee without paying a toll of Tk700. Prasenjit chased the vehicle and at one stage he climbed on it," the deceased's colleague Arman Hossain said.
"When Prasenjit asked for the toll money, he was thrown from the moving vehicle 3:30am at the Postagola Bridge area."
A critically injured Prasenjit was rushed to the Dhaka Medical College Hospital (DMCH) where he succumbed to injuries at around 4am, Arman said.
Also read: Sylhet road crash leaves 7 dead
DMCH Police Camp in-charge Inspector Bachchu Mia said the body was sent to the DMCH morgue for autopsy.
Meanwhile, another victim Abdul Kader Mia was seriously wounded when a speedy motorcycle hit him while he was crossing the Bhangapress Road in Jatrabari at around 4pm.
Kader was rushed to the DMCH where he was declared dead at around 5pm.
The victim's nephew Alauddin said, "My uncle came to my house to attend my daughter's wedding, which is scheduled to take place on Friday."
"We went to Bhangapress Bazar to buy a goat in the afternoon. As we were returning on foot after buying a goat, a motorcycle coming from the opposite direction hit my uncle when he was crossing the road," Alauddin said.
Bachhu Mia said, "Kader's body was sent to the hospital morgue for autopsy. Rajan Pathan, the motorcyclist, has been interrogated at the police camp."
The government is working to build Bangladesh as a regional automobile manufacturing hub by 2030, Industries Minister Nurul Majid Mahmud Humayun said Thursday.
“Building world class vehicle is our government’s dream ... The work to formulate a policy for the development of the automobile industry is in the final stage,” he said after inaugurating IFAD Autos Limited’s “Ashok Leyland Air Conditioned Luxury Bus” at the company’s factory in Dhamrai.
After visiting the assembling factory, Humayun said they will provide all necessary assistance to the company.
He urged automobile entrepreneurs to come forward to further develop the sector as there is a huge potential. “The government is ready to provide you all sorts of support to build a developed country by 2041,” he said.
Humayun also emphasised working on further enrichment of modern technology to help the automobile industry flourish.
State Minister for Disaster Management and Relief Dr Md Enamur Rahman urged the authorities concerned to introduce a subject focusing on automobile manufacturing at the universities.
“There are many theoretical subjects on technology but our students can’t build automobile. So they have to be given practical [training on the matter],” he said.
We’ve to hire many foreigners due to lack of skilled manpower. But there is 37 percent youth in Bangladesh. We should teach and train them properly to utilise them. This’ll allow us to run the automobile industry with local manpower, he added.
Dr Enamur also said the automobile importers have to pay a lot of money as tax. The money will be saved if Bangladesh can manufacture the vehicles here.
“Bangladesh should increase production capacity of all products instead of importing them,” he added.
Dhaka-20 constituency’s MP Benjir Ahmed said he gets offer from different countries that they need technical staff. “But I can’t send people there because we don’t have skilled manpower. There’s no alternative to provide technical education to our youth,” he said.
IFAD group Chairman Iftekhar Ahmed Tipu said they set up their company at Dhamrai in 2017 aiming to assemble 12,000 vehicles every year.
Chairman of Bangladesh Trade and Tariff Commission Munshi Shahabuddin Ahmed was also present at the event.
An application seeking waiver of Khaleda Zia’s punishment and extending the stay on her sentence has been sent to the Law Ministry, Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal said Thursday.
It will be sent back to the Home Ministry after getting opinion from the Law Ministry before it is forwarded to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, he told journalist at the secretariat.
“Khaleda Zia’s brother Shamim Iskandar filed the appeal on Tuesday seeking extension on the stay of his sister’s sentence where he also urged to waive her punishment,” the minister said.
Earlier on Wednesday, the Home Minister said BNP sought relaxation of conditions as its chief could not receive treatment during the coronavirus pandemic.
On February 8, 2018, Khaleda was sent to the Old Dhaka Central Jail after a subordinate court sentenced her to five years’ imprisonment in Zia Orphanage Trust corruption case. The High Court later doubled her jail term.
Former prime minister Khaleda was found guilty in another corruption case the same year. Her party claims both cases are politically motivated.
Amid the coronavirus outbreak, the government freed Khaleda Zia from jail for six months through an executive order suspending her sentences on March 25 last year.
She was released from the prison cell of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University (BSMMU) the same day, and she has been staying at her Gulshan house since then.
On August 27 last year, the government extended her release for six more months.