Indian Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla on Monday said India will cooperate increasingly with Bangladesh noting that the next fifty years of the two countries' shared journey will bring even greater satisfaction for both sides.
Loosely translated, he said it, it means 'Friendship Day" but "Maitri" has a much deeper connotation.
"It is a relationship that has a depth, and has a significance beyond the ordinary. It is a bond that has stood the test of time," Shringla said at a discussion "Maitri Diwas, the 50th Anniversary of India-Bangladesh Diplomatic Relations" held in New Delhi.
Indian Council of World Affairs (ICWA) hosted the event. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina sent a video message on the occasion.
State Minister for Cultural Affairs KM Khalid, Hasanul Haq Inu, Simeen Hussain, High Commissioner of Bangladesh to India Muhammad Imran, Director General of ICWA Ambassador Vijay Thakur Singh, former High Commissioner of India to Bangladesh Rajeet Mitter, Asian Confluence Director Sabyasachi Dutta and The Economic Times Diplomatic Affairs Editor Dipanjan Roy Chaudhury, Joint Secretary (Bangladesh and Myanmar), Ministry of External Affairs Smita Pant also spoke at the event.
India recognized Bangladesh as a free and independent nation while it was still fighting its War of Liberation, said the Indian Foreign Secretary.
"It was the second country in the world to do so. It was a leap of faith. India did so because it was convinced of the righteousness of the Bangladeshi cause, and the certainty that it would prevail, Shringla said.
He said India and Bangladesh share the Bay of Bengal and 54 rivers and these are being exploited to create a low-carbon footprint connectivity through waterways and coastal shipping. "Cargo, for example, can now move to Agartala from Kolkata via Chattogram."
Shringla said Bangladesh and India are linked through power grids and a common energy market is emerging.
Over 1100 MW of power now moves across the border.
India and Bangladesh are cooperating in power generation, but not exclusively, through the flagship 1320 MW Maitree Super Thermal Power Project, he said.
The Foreign Secretary said India and Bangladesh will soon be linked through hydrocarbon pipelines.
He said India and Bangladesh will cooperate increasingly, as the pandemic cooperation between healthcare professionals has shown, in the digital space. "A newer generation will find newer issues to work on."
"India and Bangladesh, I am sure, will cooperate in building a green economy through climate action and ambition," Shringla said.
He said India will continue to work with Bangladesh on facilitating the movement of people and goods through better border infrastructure and policy frameworks.
"India will also continue to work with Bangladesh on a peaceful and stable border through better border management and security cooperation," Shringla said.
"Improved border infrastructure is helping border guarding forces keep the border safe including through joint patrolling and real time exchange of information."
He said India will endeavour to remain a trusted development partner for Bangladesh.
"Credits worth more than US$ 10 billion on the 'softest' terms have been extended. This is indicative of our priorities."
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