India focuses regional connectivity

Indian External Affairs Minister Dr S Jaishankar said India has focused into the India-Bangladesh connectivity issue for next 20 years for changing regional geo-economic scenario.

“Fifty years (of Indian-Bangladesh bilateral relations) are over, think for, no not fifty years think next twenty years,” he said emerging along with his counterpart Dr AK Abdul Momen to a joint media briefing on Thursday following their one and half hours of talks.

Jaishankar added: “I would say most of all let us look at connectivity . . . I would pick connectivity as a big goal (for our relationship).”

The top Indian diplomat said they talked about involving a third country, preferably Japan, to be a major stakeholder in the bilateral engagement in terms of connectivity as both Dhaka and New Delhi were having “very good” relations with Tokyo.

“Japan is involved (as well) in connectivity projects in the Bay of Bengal (region),” he said. Jaishankar said: “I can tell you the whole geo-economics of the region will change, the Bay of Bengal will look very different.”

Momen said during the talks “we have committed to continue to work together to take our bilateral relations to newer heights under the leadership of two honorable Prime Ministers Sri Narendra Modi and Sheikh Hasina”.

The Bangladesh foreign minister said the two sides discussed a wide range of ongoing bilateral issues including Covid-19 cooperation, connectivity, trade, water, security, border and lines of credit.

“We focused on possible ways to materialize our commitments and how to prioritize and accommodate each other’s priorities in a mutually beneficial manner,” he said. Jaishankar arrived here this morning for a daylong trip to set agenda of the Indian premier’s planned upcoming visit on March 26-27.

“Of course, preparations for the visit of Hon’ble Prime Minister Modi to Bangladesh at the end of this month has been a key element of our discussions,” Momen said replying to a related question.

He said Dhaka was happy with Modi’s plan to join the celebrations of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman’s birth centenary that coincided with Golden Jubilee of Bangladesh’s independence and 50 years of Bangladesh-India diplomatic relations.


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