Bilateral issues with India need to be resolved amicably with fairness and justice as the Bangladesh-India relations are crucial for greater regional stability and development, said State Minister for Foreign Affairs Md Shahriar Alam.
“The past 50 years are a testimony, with ample evidence, how crucial Bangladesh-India relations are not only for bilateral partnership and peace, but also for greater regional stability and the development of the subcontinent,” he said while addressing a dialogue on Wednesday as the chief guest.
To alleviate the sufferings and save the livelihoods of millions of people dependent on the Teesta River basin, Alam said, it is necessary that Bangladesh receives its fair share of the Teesta waters based on the draft agreement which has already been agreed upon by both the governments in January 2011.
He said Bangladesh believes in India’s sincere commitment and continued efforts to conclude this agreement at the earliest.
Likewise, the State Minister mentioned, it is necessary that an equitable comprehensive water-sharing agreement on common rivers such as Gumti, Khowai, Kushiyara, Teesta, Feni and Muhuri needs to be concluded so that the people of Bangladesh can perceive that India will be attentive and fair to their needs.
He said the past 50 years will guide them to navigate the course of the next 50 years in the evolving scenario of the regional and global context, where the friendship and partnership would be deeper and more consolidated.
“As we march forward to turn the dream of Sonar Bangla of Bangabandhu into a reality, the partnership and friendship with India signifies a metamorphological transition to transform the region as a role model of peace, prosperity, and development,” he said highlighting the historic transformative journey of shared prosperity.
The Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD) organised the dialogue titled “50 Years of Bangladesh-India Partnership: Towards a Journey in the Next 50 Years” in collaboration with the Research and Information System for Developing Countries (RIS), India.
Kazi Nabil Ahmed, MP, Member, Standing Committee on Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Vikram K Doraiswami, High Commissioner of India to Bangladesh also spoke at the dialogue chaired by Prof Rehman Sobhan.
Dr Fahmida Khatun, CPD Executive Director, moderated the session while Dr Sachin Chaturvedi, Director General, RIS, India delivered the introductory remarks.
On the occasion of the 50 years of Bangladesh-India partnership, Alam said they need to capitalize on their achievements and use that as a springboard to consolidate the partnership to fight against the perilous threats of poverty, inequality and injustice in this region and making the subcontinent a safer and better place for future generation.
“A stable and mutually beneficial partnership can play a pivotal and exemplary role and accelerate shared prosperity to change the lives and livelihoods of the people of the entire region,” he said.
Terming India a closest and important neighbour of Bangladesh, he said India has the responsibility to instill and maintain trust and confidence among the countries of the region.
The prolonged impasse hitherto on critical issues like trade imbalance, water sharing, border incident and border demarcation at several areas has done little good to either side, he observed.
It is in the interest of both countries that bilateral issues need to be resolved amicably with fairness and justice, said the State Minister, adding, “We’ve shown the world such evidence time and again.”
Bangladesh is currently importing about 1160 MW of power from India and energy sector cooperation between India and Bangladesh has also seen considerable progress in the recent years, he said.
Four Border Haats, two each in Tripura and Meghalaya, have been established for the benefit of bordering communities living in remote areas.
He said additional Border Haats on the India-Bangladesh border are under consideration. “Both sides are working to expedite the process.”
India has extended 3 Lines of Credits to Bangladesh in the last 7 years amounting to US$ 8 billion. This makes Bangladesh the largest recipient of LoC funds from India till date.
The LoCs cover mainly infrastructure development projects in areas of port construction, railways, roads, airports, power and energy, telecommunications, and shipping.
During the ongoing Covid pandemic, both countries help each other by sending medicines, vaccines and protective equipment.
On terrorism, Alam said Prime Minister’s uncompromising stand and ‘zero tolerance policy’ against terrorism and extremism have been lauded by the international community including India.
Source: United News of Bangladesh