Staff Correspondent: Indian External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on Monday said Bangladesh gets priority among all India’s neighbours as per its neighbourhood policy.
“Our foreign policy follows neighbourhood first approach. Parsi pehele, lekin Bangladesh sabse pehele (Among all neighbours [of India] Bangladesh comes first),” she said reflecting India’s growing importance to Bangladesh.
Calling her Bangladesh counterpart AH Mahmood Ali as his ‘brother and Dada’, Sushma assured Bangladesh of resolving all the issues transparently and sincerely.
She referred to the peaceful settlement of disputes over Maritime Boundary and Land Boundary Agreement with Bangladesh in the past.
Sushma was addressing a programme marking the inauguration of the new Chancery Complex of the Indian High Commission and 15 development projects in Bangladesh funded by the government of India at a cost of Tk 71.64 crore.
On Sunday, Indian External Affairs Minister also assured Bangladesh of resolving all the pending issues as Bangladesh has long been waiting to see the signing of Teesta water sharing deal. “We’re aware of the outstanding issues. We assure you we’re working to resolve them.”
Sushma said the Prime Ministers of the two countries laid a strong foundation of cooperation between the two countries which is expanding day by day.
“I’m confident we would be able to take the relations to greater heights in the times to come,” said the External Affairs Minister.
Sushma said the relationship between Bangladesh and India is moving ahead in a faster pace.
She also laid emphasis on investing in youths who will lead the future of the two countries. “The youth of today is the future of tomorrow.”
Sushma expressed her satisfaction over easing visa process and hoped to issue visas for 14 lakh Bangladesh citizens in one year by the end of 2017.
She also delivered her speech partly in Hindi and concluded her speech saying “Bharat-Bangladesh Moitree Jindabad.”
In the beginning, Indian High Commissioner in Dhaka Harsh Vardhan Shringla described the achievements of the Indian High Commission here, including easy visa process and development projects.
He also briefly talked about the Indian External Affairs Minister terming her India’s most loved politician.
Foreign Minister AH Mahmood Ali, Health Minister Mohammed Nasim, Environment and Forests Minister Anwar Hossain Manju, Prime Minister's Political Affairs Adviser HT Imam, Foreign Secretary M Shahidul Haque and Indian Foreign Secretary Dr S Jaishankar were also present on the occasion.
A cultural programme showcasing the deep Bangladesh India relationship was also held before the Indian External Affairs Minister delivers her speech.
The Indian Minister left here for Delhi by a special flight at 1:13pm wrapping up her less than 24 hours official visit.
She held 4th Joint Consultative Commission meeting on Sunday with her Bangladesh counterpart AH Mahmood Ali and reviewed the entire gamut of bilateral relationship between the two friendly neighbouring countries.
risingbd/Dhaka/Oct 23, 2017/Saif/Amirul