Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) and Delhi University have signed an MoU to set up 'Bangabandhu Chair' at the university to honour Father of the Nation and the greatest Bengali of all times Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.

The decision for establishing the chair was taken during Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to Bangladesh in March 2021.

The development, however, coincides with the 50th anniversary of Bangladesh's independence and Bangladesh-India diplomatic relations.

Director General of ICCR Dinesh K Patnaik and Vice-Chancellor of Delhi University Prof PC Joshi signed the MoU on behalf of their respective sides at a ceremony at ICCR in Azad Bhavan in New Delhi in the evening.

President of ICCR Vinay Sahasrabuddhe and Bangladesh High Commissioner to India Muhammad Imran witnessed the signing ceremony when senior officials of the mission and Indian Ministry of External Affairs were present.

Indian Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla sent a message on the occasion. Indian High Commissioner to Bangladesh Vikram Doraiswami joined the programme virtually from Dhaka.

As per the MoU, a foreign visiting professor or a subject expert on Bangladesh is likely to be a person of Bangladeshi origin who will be occupying the "chair".

The key focus of establishment of the chair will be on the shared cultural heritage of India and Bangladesh with subjects like Anthropology, Buddhist Studies, Geography, History, Music, Fine Arts and Political Science.

Speaking on the occasion, the ICCR President said: "We're proud to establish 'Bangabandhu Chair' at Delhi University in memory of an undisputed leader like Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.

Muhammad Imran said there is no doubt that the establishment of 'Bangabandhu Chair' is a timely initiative.

He said Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman is one of the most iconic 20th century politicians of the world. "We believe the coming generations would continue to find Bangabandhu, a towering personality, with rock solid determination like Himalayas, as compared by Fidel Castro to describe him.

Bangladesh and India are enjoying excellent bilateral relations which have reached an unprecedented height under the visionary leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and Prime Minister Narendra Modi, said the Bangladesh High Commission in New Delhi.

"We will be doing a lot but we wanted to start with an important country and what more could be important than Bangladesh particularly this year when we are celebrating 50th anniversary of the Independence of Bangladesh, 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations and the 100th birth anniversary of Bangabandhu, Sheikh Mujibur Rahman," said Dinesh K. Patnaik, Director General, ICCR.

"I am sure that this very important innovation catalyzes further sharing of knowledge and understanding, future growth of ties among institutions and more common face of work, I hope that we find the distinguished occupant for the chair at the earliest," stated Harsh Vardhan Shringla, Foreign Secretary, MEA in his speech.

"It is a historical moment to host this first-ever Bangabandhu chair, who was an ideal hero for all of us and was a symbol of liberty, democracy, and freedom," said, Prof PC Joshi, Acting VC, University of Delhi.

"We will work closely with ICCR and Delhi University to ensure that all sides are satisfied with the selection of candidates that we hope to find," said Vikram Doraiswami, High Commission of India Dhaka.

"This chair is the celebration of commonality in our world view, we stand for peace, fraternity, and equal respect to all belief systems," said Dr. Vinay Sahasrabuddhe, President ICCR.

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