New chapter in India-Bangladesh bilateral ties: High Commissioner
DHAKA — During a meeting with Bangladesh’s newly-elected Foreign Minister Hasan Mahmud, Indian High Commissioner Pranay Verma said a new chapter of bilateral relations between the two neighbouring nations has opened, and would work “more closely” to take the ties forward.
The meeting took place on Monday at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Dhaka.
“I came here to pay a courtesy call on the new Foreign Minister. I have congratulated him, and also on behalf of our External Affairs Minister. There were discussions on various bilateral issues. We would work more closely to take our relationship forward,” Verma told reporters.
The High Commissioner further said their discussions focused on the advancements and successes achieved in bilateral relationships during the last decade.
“Our bilateral relationship reached a close state in the last 10 years,” he added.
He also noted that discussions took place over “issues that we can consider in future”.
“For instance, on the climate issue, we can cooperate in the Bangladesh Prime Minister’s plan in building a smart Bangladesh by 2041,” the envoy added.
Expressing India’s interest in working with the new Awami League government, he said: “We hope that our partnership will thrive under the new government, which would be conducive for the national interests of both sides. We have always been ready to cooperate with the people of Bangladesh.”
Referring to the previous three national elections in the country, Foreign Minister Mahmud said India has consistently extended its support to preserve democratic continuity in Bangladesh.
“India stood by our side in 2014 when many conspiracies were going on surrounding the election. In 2018, there were efforts to make the election controversial as well as to raise many questions about it; India was beside us then too. This time, you all know what was or is the stance of India over holding an election to maintain democratic continuity,” he stated.
The newly-appointed Foreign Minister also expressed his interest in making his first overseas trip to India.
Asked about the probable date, he said he had been invited from India, and both sides were working to find a time suitable for the two Foreign Ministers.
Regarding his discussions with Verma, Mahmud said: “We discussed different issues, though it was a courtesy call. We particularly discussed the issues of connectivity, border haats, and trade expansion, with great importance.”Besides, they discussed scopes of trade expansion through transactions in the Bangladeshi taka and Indian rupee, which have already started on a small scale.
“There were discussions between us on ways to expand it, make it popular, and known to all. If it is done, our dependency on the dollar will subside, and so will India’s. It will be conducive for trade expansion in both countries.”