“I would say most of all – let’s look at connectivity. If we get connectivity right between India and Bangladesh, I can tell you, the entire logistics and whole geo-economics of the region will change, Bay of Bengal we look very different,” Indian External Affairs Minister Dr S Jaishankar told reporters on Thursday.
Also read:Jaishankar arrives Thursday to deepen Bangladesh-India ties
In a joint briefing with Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen at state guesthouse Padma, Dr Jaishankar said they spent lots of their conversation on this very specific subject and they think this is possible.
The Indian Minister said they actually feel that they should even involve third countries and talked about Japan as a possibility because Bangladesh and India have very good relations with Japan. “Japan is involved in connectivity projects in the Bay of Bengal.”
Jaishankar mentioned that Minister Momen shared something with him referring to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina (connectivity is productivity) which really impressed him.
Also read: No crime, no border killing: Jaishankar
He said the more the two countries do, the more possibilities will open up and mentioned that there is no domain where they are not working today.
Secondly, the Indian Minister highlighted the human aspect -– people-to-people ties, education, health and cultural ties.
“We should have much more people led-relationship,” he said adding that he is very convinced that this would give an additional impetus to the Dhaka-Delhi cooperation.
At the end of the day, Jaishankar said, the relationship between countries is relationship between peoples.
The Indian Minister said when he looks at India-Bangladesh ties, he sees enormous possibilities - economic possibility, connectivity possibility and lots of people-to-people possibilities.
Highlighting enormous regards to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and Bangladesh, he said the two countries’ bonding is central to realisation of the dream of a peaceful, prosperous and progressive South Asia.
“We see Bangladesh as a key neighbor and a valued partner, not only in South Asia but also in the broader Indo Pacific region,” said the Indian Minister.
He said the two countries are working so hard to expand relations all dimensions ranging from security, trade, transport, connectivity culture, people to people ties, energy and joint development of shared resources and defence.
The Indian Minister assured that India will always be there by Bangladesh’s side as a reliable friend.
Sharing India’s admiration and pride for Bangladesh’s graduation from the LDC status, he said it is truly a tribute to Bangladesh’s “miraculous socioeconomic progress” and reflection of statesmanship and leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.
The Indian Minister arrived by a special aircraft in the morning. Foreign Minister Dr Momen welcomed the Indian Minister at Bangabandhu Air Base.
Jaishankar arrived in Dhaka at the invitation of Bangladesh Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen, aiming to deepen the ties between the two countries.
Also read: Dhaka looks forward to Modi's visit; Jaishankar due Thursday
During the visit, the External Affairs Minister will also meet Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in the afternoon.
The visit follows on the PM-level Virtual Summit held between two countries on December 17, 2020.
Bangladesh looks forward to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit this month to take forward the bilateral relations with some deliverables, said State Minister for Foreign Affairs M Shahriar Alam on Tuesday.
Modi's planned visit to Bangladesh on March 26-27 will be his first trip abroad in more than a year, mainly because of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Bangladesh is set to celebrate the 50th anniversary of independence and 50 years of Bangladesh-India diplomatic relations this year.
The State Minister highlighted the deepness of the relations between Bangladesh and India, and mentioned that Bangladesh will host some important events from March 17-26.
A passenger train is likely to be made operational between Dhaka and New Jalpaiguri of India on March 26 as part of the celebrations of the Golden Jubilee of Bangladesh’s independence.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and her Indian counterpart Narendra Modi are expected to flag off the train service.
The two leaders held a Summit in virtual format on December 17 last year and had comprehensive discussions on all aspects of bilateral relations, and exchanged views on regional and international issues.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina thanked her Indian counterpart Narendra Modi for accepting her invitation to visit Bangladesh in person in March 2021 to join the celebrations on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of Bangladesh’s Independence and 50 years of Bangladesh-India diplomatic relations.