Press Trust of india

India accords highest priority to partnership with Bangladesh: Swaraj

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New Delhi, Feb 9:  India remains ready to provide maximum possible support to Dhaka since a prosperous and progressive Bangladesh is in India’s national interest, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj has said.

In her opening statement at the 5th India-Bangladesh Joint Consultative Committee (JCC) meeting held on Friday, Swaraj said the two sides should continue to deepen partnership in defence and security, including increasing cooperation against terrorist groups.

Swaraj held the JCC meeting with her Bangladeshi counterpart A K Abdul Momen.

She said India accords highest priority to its partnership with Bangladesh.

“I want to reiterate that India stands in full support of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s developmental agenda. We remain ready to provide maximum possible support since a prosperous, secure and progressive Bangladesh is in India’s direct national interest,” she said.

“This is why our government was able to settle long standing bilateral issues including on our land boundary. This is also the reason that we believe all pending issues can also be similarly brought to amicable solutions,” she said.

She noted that close economic cooperation in support of Bangladesh’s rapid economic development and creation of cross-border infrastructure links, both in energy and transport, to support economic development in both countries is a fundamental aspect of the partnership.

Swaraj also emphasised on a greater cooperation in the energy sector, in building roads, railways, ports and inland waterways and in using such connectivity for mutual benefit will create jobs, reduce costs and enhance mobility for both of the nations.

She said India’s grant in aid projects and credit lines are designed to support Bangladesh aspirations of becoming a middle income country by 2021 and a developed country by 2041.

She pointed out that as many as 90 bilateral agreements have been signed since Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Bangladesh in 2015. These also cover new and high technology areas for the first time.

The two sides also inked three pacts, including in the areas of health services and training of civil servants, on Friday.

The three MoUs signed were on mid-career training of 1,800 Bangladeshi civil servants, another between AYUSH Ministry and the Ministry of Health of Bangladesh on cooperation in the field of medicinal plants and the third between the Anti-Corruption Commission of Bangladesh and Central Bureau of Investigation of India.

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