Bangladesh wants India to lead South Asia to emerge as a global player

Bangladesh expects India to play “leadership role” in South Asia so that the region can emerge as “a global player on all fronts”, the foreign minister says.

Published : 23 Jan 2015, 02:57 PM
Updated : 23 Jan 2015, 03:10 PM

“We believe in collective development and prosperity of the region,” Abul Hassan Mahmood Ali said on Friday, speaking at a seminar in Dhaka.

The Bangladesh-India Friendship Society organised the seminar ahead of India’s Republic Day on Jan 26.

Ali said Bangladesh had been observing “with keen interest and admiration the great strides that India has made since its independence”.

He said Bangladesh and India were “not only friends and neighbours but also development partners”.

The relationship was based on “historical, cultural, linguistic, religious, ethnic and social ties that date back to millennia”.

He said it was defined in 1971 when the Indian leadership, government and the people stood by Bangladesh in the Liberation War.

But it witnessed “a quantum surge” after Hasina came back to power in 2009.

“Now it has attained newer heights”, the minister said, “Newer fields of cooperation and development are opening up which are adding diversity and dimension to our relations.”

There was the strongest commitment at the highest level of both countries to address the common challenges and to widen and deepen the relationship for mutual benefit, he said.

“It is my firm belief that Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and Prime Minister Modi’s leaderships would usher in a new era of bilateral relations building on the successes and progresses of the previous years.
“This would benefit not only Bangladesh and India but also the entire region,” he said.
He said India’s “impressive economic growth and achievements in various sectors has justly placed India in a position of leadership in the comity of nations”.
Stating that greater economic integration was the call of the day worldwide, he said synergies of the two thriving economies, which are also two of the largest in the region, could definitely be harnessed further to the benefit of not only the two countries but also for the prosperity of the entire region.
“I believe, our collective efforts and actions would contribute to revitalizing the process of regional cooperation and attaining the desired level of economic development.
“It is our expectation that India would play its leadership role in taking along all other countries in South Asia so that South Asia can emerge as a global player in all fronts,” he said.
The foreign minister said the two leaders -- Sheikh Hasina and Narendra Modi -- had “the shared desire, vision and decisiveness” to build “a peaceful, stable and prosperous” South Asia.
He said this would guide both countries “to bring about a real change in the quality of life of millions of our people”.
“The emotional bond and people-to-people contacts between our two countries form the strongest and most treasured part of our relationship.
“We need to nurture and leverage it as a catalyst to further enhance our bilateral ties,” he said.
Chairman of University Grants Commission Prof AK Azad Chowdhury who is the President of the Society, and Indian High Commissioner in Dhaka Pankaj Saran also spoke, among others, at the seminar.
The foreign minister said the Republic Day was “a watershed moment” in the history of the sub-continent.
“India has the oldest Constitution in South Asia. The Republic Day therefore, holds special significant for us, all the South Asian countries, in our journey along the path of democracy.
“It reminds us of the region’s richness in constitutional governance,” he said.
He congratulated India and its people ahead of the Republic day celebration.
Indian High Commission in Dhaka says they will celebrate the day with special events that include reception on Monday.
Toufique Imrose Khalidi
Editor-in-Chief and Publisher