India-Bangladesh partnership is comprehensive, vibrant: Kovind

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Dhaka, Dec 15: The visiting Indian President Ram Nath Kovind today described India-Bangladesh relationship as comprehensive and vibrant, saying, “We are focusing on connectivity.”

“Bangladesh is a development partner (of India). The partnership between India and Bangladesh is comprehensive and vibrant,” he said when Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina paid a courtesy call on him at his suite in Pan Pacific Sonargaon Hotel, BSS reported.

PM’s Press Secretary Ihsanul Karim briefed newsmen after the meeting.

The Indian President also told the Bangladesh premier that he feels very happy to be part of the celebrations of three mega events.

“I am very happy to be present on this occasion when Bangladesh is celebrating three events — birth centenary of Father  of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, Golden Jubilee of Bangladesh’s independence and diplomatic relationship between the countries,” she said.

Indian President arrived here today on a three- day visit to join the special celebrations of Mujib Borsho and the 50th Victory Day of Bangladesh’s Liberation.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said 2021 is a landmark year for Bangladesh as the country is celebrating the birth centenary of the Father of the Nation, the Golden Jubilee of Bangladesh’s Independence and Indo-Bangla diplomatic relations.

She said Bangladesh considers India as a great friend, adding, “Exchange of visits between the countries even amid the COVID-19 situation is the testimony of warm relationship between the two countries.”

She recalled the crucial role played by the then government of India and their people during Bangladesh’s War of Liberation in 1971 led by Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.

Sheikh Hasina also recalled the historic and successful visit of Indian Prime Minister Narendro Modi to Bangladesh in March of this year to join the celebration of the three events.

After the 1965 India and Pakistan war, the commutations between the two countries were snapped in various routes, the Prime Minister said and called for emphasising on restoring those routes.

She expressed satisfaction over the ongoing cooperation in various areas even in the current pandemic situation.

The Indian President said that he is happy to be in Bangladesh, adding that this is his first foreign visit after COVID-19.

He described Bangabandhu an ideal of pluralism and democracy and said that the Bangabandhu-Bapuji digital exhibition was remarkable.

Bangabandhu Chair has been established in Delhi University, he mentioned.

He said Bangladesh was the first country to receive COVID-19 vaccine from India and also thanked Bangladesh for sending COVID-19 medicines to India.

“COVID-19 is an unseen power that destroyed everything,” he added.

The Indian President hoped that under the leadership of Sheikh Hasina Bangladesh will be more prosperous and developed.

He appreciated Bangladesh’s support to India in different international forums and thanked Sheikh Hasina for sending mangoes.

In reply, Sheikh Hasina said that sending medicines, vaccines and protective equipment during the pandemic is the goodwill gesture and symbol of the cooperation between the two countries.

Noting that Bangladesh believes in secularism, she said, “All are free to perform their own religious rites and rituals. There is no barrier here. Religion is for individuals, and festivals for all.”

Agriculture Minister Minister M Abdur Razzaque, Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen, State Minister for Foreign Affairs M Shahriar Alam, Principal Secretary Dr Ahmad Kaikaus, Foreign Secretary Masud Bin Momen and PMO secretary M Tofazzel Hossain Miah were present from Bangladesh side.

Indian State Minister for Education Subhash Sarker, Rajdeep Roy,MP, Indian President’s Secretary KD Tripathi, Indian Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla, Indian High Commissioner Vikram Doraiswami were present from Indian side.