Indian External Affairs Minister Dr S Jaishankar on Monday said the partnership between Bangladesh and India would be key to building a prosperous and peaceful South Asia.
"I firmly believe that," he said adding that this partnership will be a befitting tribute to the vision of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman in this historic Mujib Barsho.
The Indian minister made the remarks while addressing a virtual programme with his Bangladesh counterpart Dr AK Abdul Momen.
Dr Jaishankar said India remains a committed development partner of Bangladesh.
With exports from Bangladesh to India having crossed the US$ 1 billion mark in 2019 - a remarkable growth of 43 percent from the previous year, India invited the business community of Bangladesh to further enhance their engagement with India.
"We look forward to more such milestones, especially in this historic year and as we commemorate 50 years of the liberation of Bangladesh and the establishment of our diplomatic ties next year," said the Indian Minister.
He hoped the partnership will become truly exemplary and forge stronger bonds of friendship.
"Our uniquely concessional lines of credit of close to US$ 10 billion are the largest India has extended to any country. These projects will help in the infrastructure development of Bangladesh, a pre-requisite for its economy leapfrog to the next level," he said.
The Indian minister said the two countries need to work together to expedite these ongoing projects.
He said a very few countries in the world share such fraternal ties and the partnership today stands as a role model in the region for good neighbourly relations.
Dr Jaishankar highlighted ever growing multifaceted cooperation includes tourism, health, education, security, energy, culture and frontier technologies of nuclear science, space & IT, and strong people-to-people links.
He said Bangladesh has seen impressive economic growth rates in the last few years. "Its achievements across all socio-economic indicators has set new benchmarks."
Dr Jaishankar said Prime Minister Narendra Modi while paying tribute to Bangabandhu at the inaugural Mujib Barsho celebration, had admired the dedication of the people and the leadership of Bangladesh in making their nation Sonar Bangla, as envisioned by Bangabandhu.
The Indian minister said the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic has posed new challenges to the world, especially in realizing their developmental goals.
India stands prepared to cooperate with the people of Bangladesh to tide over these difficult times, he said.
"The pandemic has also forced us to come up with innovative solutions aimed at minimizing disruptions to our supply chain logistics. Thanks to our well-timed efforts, the business communities of our two countries have started utilizing freight trains for transporting commodities and raw materials for manufacturing industries," said the minister.
The movement of freight via rail also ensured that the supply of essential commodities continued undisrupted, particularly in the holy month of Ramzan, as trade through land borders faced challenges.
In the virtual handover ceremony, 10 broad gauge (BG) locomotives were virtually flagged off to Bangladesh by Indian External Affairs Minister Dr S Jaishankar and Minister of Railways and Commerce & Industry Piyush Goyal.
Bangladesh Railways Minister Md Nurul Islam Sujan, Indian Minister for Railways and Commerce & Industry Piyush Goyal and Minister of State for Railways Angadi Suresh Channabasappa also joined the event.