Sat, 25 Jun 2022

New Delhi [India], June 19 (ANI): External Affairs Minister Dr. S. Jaishankar at the 7th Round of India-Bangladesh Joint Consultative Commission showed solidarity with visiting Bangladesh foreign minister AK Abdul Momen at the unprecedented flooding in Northern Bangladesh and said that India is ready to assist the country with the relief efforts.

"We would also like to convey our support and solidarity at the unprecedented flooding that we have had in Northern Bangladesh. We have also had in North-East. We are now sharing flood management data for an extended period. I would like to take the opportunity to convey that if in any concrete way, we can be of assistance to you in the management of flood and relief efforts, we would be very glad to be supportive. It would be in keeping with our relationship," said Jishankar in the opening remarks.

Jaishankar and Momen last met in the inaugural session of the NADI conference 2022 "Asian Confluence River Convlave 2022" at Radisson Blu in Guwahati. "I think that was really something that both of us were able to demonstrate in many ways, outside Delhi and outside our Capitals, how good our relationship is," said Jaishankar recalling his meeting with the counterpart in Guwahati.

"It is our frequent meetings that underline our unique friendship. And of course, the 50th year of our ties has been particularly momentous, with both our President and our Prime Minister visiting Bangladesh on the 50th Bijoy Diwas and on your 50th National Day. And we have actually marked "Maitree Diwas" in 18 cities worldwide, which is something very unique apart from New Delhi and Dhaka," he added.

Jaishankar said that the ties between India and Bangladesh reflect the visionary leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.

Speaking on the trade connect between both the nations, Jaishankar noted, "Today Bangladesh is our largest development partner, it is our largest trade partner in the region; it is our largest visa operation overseas. And that really underlines every aspect of our cooperation. And we in turn, are your largest export destination in Asia. I am glad to see that your exports have doubled to USD 2 billion this year."The External Affairs Minister also mentioned how both countries came together to fight the pandemic, "We jointly overcome the pandemic. Whether it was vaccine cooperation, whether it was the oxygen express, whether it was medical Oxygen plants, supplies of medicines and life-saving drugs that we gave to each other, our shared fight against Covid-19 has been exemplary," the EAM stated.

Jaishankar also spoke at length on the landmark achievements in the partnership between both the nations. "On other landmarks this year that we should recognize. These include launch of the trailer of the jointly-produced biopic, 'Mujib: The Making of a Nation', at the Cannes Film Festival; the Bangabandhu Chair at Delhi University; the Bangabandhu-Bapu digital exhibition; the improvement in project delivery and disbursement; the inauguration of the Maitri Bridge over River Feni; the start of the third passenger train, Mitali Expressdespite the Covid-19. And all these really reflect the relationship that is now on a higher trajectory," he said.

The EAM also said that India looks forward in boosting the bilateral cooperation in new domains. "So, we now look forward to working with you to take our ties to new domains- Artificial Intelligence, cyber security, startups, Fintech. We were pleased to receive your ICT Minister. We had a very good visit by your Railway Minister recently and I am glad to expand our cooperation on upgradation of our railway system," Jaishankar noted.

He further laid emphasis on the 54 rivers that both nations share and the joint environment responsibility. "We share 54 rivers. Comprehensive management of our rivers and their conservation, as well as the shared environment responsibility that we have, especially the Sundarbans. These are really areas that we need to work together as part of our commitment to climate action," he said.

Jaishankar also highlighted the need for the better management of India-Bangladesh long border and termed it a "key priority". "Our Border Guarding Forces is committed to combating trans-border crimes. We must continue to work together to make sure that the border remains crime-free," he continued.

He also mentioned the Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, and Nepal (BBIN) agreement during his remarks. "On a larger landscape, we both have a commitment to a prosperous and connected sub-region. We have been working together on a BBIN Motor Vehicles Agreement. And we also look at subregional cooperation in power, especially, hydropower. We are both the largest producer and consumer of energy in the region. And we would be very happy to work with Bangladesh to structure a progressive partnership in the areas of production, transmission, and trade. I would also like to congratulate you, Excellency, for your overall very splendid economic performance," Jaishankar told his Bangladeshi counterpart.

Jaishankar noted that the Joint Commission Meeting and the range of the agenda underline the extent of India-Bangladesh partnership and lays out the new opportunities.

Meanwhil, at the India-Bangladesh JCC meeting, AK Abdul Momen, Foreign Affairs Minister of Bangladesh, said that the relationship between both countries is based on mutual trust. FM Momen called India the "most important neighbour".

"India is the most important neighbour of Bangladesh. Initiatives taken by both nations have helped us achieve stabilitydevelopment across the region. Bangladesh-India relations are based on mutual trustrespect," the Bangladeshi FM said.

The JCC is to review the bilateral ties including cooperation in the wake of COVID-19, border management and security, trade and investment, connectivity, energy, water resources, development partnership and regional and multilateral issues, the MEA said earlier in a statement.

This is the first physical meeting since the COVID-19 pandemic broke out. The previous meeting was held in 2020 virtually. (ANI)

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