India and Bangladesh charted unique model for cooperation: Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla


NEW DELHI: The relationship between India and Bangladesh has withstood the test of time and both countries have charted a unique model for regional cooperation that is quite unparalleled in South Asia, Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla said on Friday.

He said that both the countries have been blessed with history, culture, language and above all an ardent belief in freedom, justice and pluralism, and described the commonalities as the “bridge” to a future of peace and prosperity.

Shringla was speaking at the inaugural function of the third Bangladesh film festival in Kolkata. “India and Bangladesh have together charted a unique model for regional cooperation, quite unparalleled in South Asia,” he said.

“The India-Bangladesh bilateral relationship has withstood the test of time, and even as the world undergoes great upheaval in the post-pandemic era, our relationship grows from strength to strength,” Shringla said.

The foreign secretary also mentioned the robust exchanges that both sides had in recent months including his two visits to Dhaka, notwithstanding the coronavirus pandemic. “Cooperation is moving forward inexorably. Our prime minister is looking forward to his visit to Dhaka,” he said.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi is scheduled to travel to Dhaka in March. Bangladesh Foreign Secretary Masud Bin Momen visited India last month to prepare ground for Modi’s visit to that country. In his address, the foreign secretary referred to the historical bond between the two nations while delving into the Bangladesh liberation war.

“I say it with great pride that the deep historical bond between our two nations has been etched in golden letters with the blood of our soldiers. It was protected and preserved by the sheer determination of our peoples,” he said.

“It was the spirit of 1971 that helped free Bangladesh, it was the spirit of 1971 that spurred the India-Bangladesh relationship and it is this same spirit of 1971 that we recognise today as the foundation of the relationship for the years to come,” Shringla added.

Around 93,000 Pakistani troops had surrendered before the joint forces of the Indian Army and the “Mukti Bahini” on December 16, 1971 that led to the birth of Bangladesh. The year 2021 marks the 50th anniversary of the liberation of Bangladesh, the 50th year of bilateral diplomatic ties as well as the birth centenary of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.

Shringla said the shooting of the biopic on ‘Bangabandhu’ Sheikh Mujibur Rahman began last month in Mumbai. “This year would see a plethora of events in both our countries as well as in third countries, and at the UN headquarters in New York, through which India and Bangladesh will jointly celebrate Mujib Barsho, celebrate the people of Bangladesh and their tireless struggle for ‘Swadhinota’ (freedom) and the golden anniversary of the India-Bangladesh relationship,” he said.