Dhaka, Delhi for expediting “safe and sustainable” Rohingya repatriation


Dhaka, Feb 08: Bangladesh and India on Friday agreed on the need to expedite “safe and sustainable” repatriation of Rohingyas to their place of origin in Rakhine State of Myanmar.The issue came up for discussions at the fifth meeting of the Bangladesh-India Joint Consultative Commission (JCC) meeting held in New Delhi.

Foreign Minister Dr Ak Abdul Momen and his Indian counterpart Sushma Swaraj co-chaired the JCC meeting.

Indian External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj assured Bangladesh the Foreign Minister of India’s continued support for safe, speedy and sustainable return of the displaced people to Myanmar.

She expressed appreciation for the humanitarian gesture of Bangladesh in supporting a large number of displaced people from the Rakhine region of Myanmar.

Dr Momen conveyed the gratitude of government of Bangladesh for the humanitarian assistance provided by India in four tranches since September 2017 to help meet the requirements of the displaced persons from Myanmar.

The Indian External Affairs Minister congratulated the visiting dignitary on his assumption of office as Foreign Minister, and appreciated the significance attached to the bilateral relationship, as indicated in his decision to make India the destination of his first visit abroad.

The two ministers reaffirmed that the relationship between India and Bangladesh, forged in the 1971 Liberation War, goes far beyond a strategic partnership.

“Today, it’s anchored in history, culture, language and shared values of democracy, secularism, development cooperation and countless other commonalities,” according to a joint press release issued after the meeting.

During the meeting, the ministers discussed the gamut of bilateral issues of mutual interest and reviewed ongoing cooperation, including the implementation of decisions taken during the visits of Prime Minister Modi and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, as well as at the last meeting of JCC in October 2017, in Dhaka.

The ministers expressed satisfaction that both countries are working closer than ever before in every sector, from security and border management to mutually-beneficial trade and investment flows, power and energy, river water sharing, development partnership, transport connectivity, culture, people-to-people contacts.

They welcomed the fact that the relationship was now broadening to include new and high technology areas for partnership, such as space, nuclear energy, IT and electronics.

The ministers tasked their accompanying officials to develop a forward looking roadmap for bilateral cooperation to make the partnership irreversible.

They particularly desired that the efforts of partnership-building should be enhanced in a manner commensurate with the commemoration of the 50th anniversary of Bangladesh’s Liberation.

Bangladesh and India on Friday signed four MoUs to further strengthen the existing “multifaceted cooperation” between the two countries, according to a joint statement.

The MoUs were signed at the fifth meeting of the Bangladesh-India Joint Consultative Commission (JCC) held in New Delhi.

Foreign Minister Dr Ak Abdul Momen and his Indian counterpart Sushma Swaraj co-chaired the JCC meeting.

A memorandum of understanding (MoU) was signed on mid-career training of 1,800 Bangladesh civil servants while another MoU signed between AYUSH and the Ministry of Health of Bangladesh on cooperation in the field of medicinal plants.

Another MoU between Anti-Corruption Commission of Bangladesh and Central Bureau of Investigation of India was also signed.

Hiranandani Group and Bangladesh Economic Zones Authority also signed an MoU to facilitate investment in the Indian Economic Zone in Mongla.

India described its relations with Bangladesh as ‘time-tested’ good neighbourly one based on trust and mutual understanding.

“Our solid ties have their genesis in the War of Liberation of Bangladesh,” Raveesh Kumar, official spokesperson, the Indian Ministry of External Affairs tweeted as Bangladesh and India took stock of progress of relations on all fronts.

The two sides discussed cooperation in the areas of security, defence, trade and connectivity, development partnership, water, power and energy sectors, consular and cultural cooperation.

Sushma Swaraj welcomed Dr Momen, who is visiting New Delhi on his maiden official tour abroad as the Foreign Minister of Bangladesh, ahead of the 5th JCC meeting.

Earlier, Foreign Minister Dr Momen met Prime Minister Narendra Modi and conveyed the greetings of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, and her appreciation for the fact that Prime Minister Modi was the first foreign leader to congratulate her upon the victory of the Awami League in Bangladesh’s parliamentary elections in December 2018.

Prime Minister Modi conveyed his good wishes to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina for her success in this third consecutive term in office, and reaffirmed India’s abiding commitment to remain Bangladesh’s most committed partner for security and development.