The two countries are also cooperating in the field of health which saw New Delhi sending Covid vaccines as gift

India-Bangladesh relations are diversified and strategic, and the recent initiative to welcome the Bangladeshi tri service contingent in 2021 India’s Republic Day parade has been a landmark move as Bangladesh celebrates 50 years of its independence.

Bangladesh is India’s biggest trade partner in South Asia. The trade between the two countries crossed $ ten million. Recently, Bangladesh brought ten broad gauge diesel locomotives from India. The two countries are also cooperating in building connectivity. The two countries are also cooperating in the field of health which saw New Delhi sending Covid vaccines as gift.

There is further scope to widen bilateral relations through mutual benefit, and huge prospects to develop people to people connect. These remarks were made by Bangladesh Minister of State for External Affairs Md Shariar Alam while addressing a recent meet organised by leading think-tank Vivekananda International Foundation (VIF).

“The genesis of their relations lay in War of Liberation in 1971. India’s contribution to the war is widely appreciated and recognised. Despite global challenges, the two countries have strengthened the relationship between mutual benefits and shared future, forward-looking strategy with remarkable social progress. There is a focus on peace and security in the face of global challenges,” Alam noted ahead of Bangladesh armed forces participation in the Republic Day parade.

The visit of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Dhaka in June 2016, and visit of Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in 2017 and 2019 to Delhi were the landmark events in building ties, the Minister said, adding on December 17, last year a virtual summit was conducted exploring the possibility of expanding bilateral relations to new areas, such as Artificial Intelligence, outer space and renewable energy.

Bangladesh in March 2018 fulfilled the criteria of transiting from LDC to middle-income country. The next commitment for Bangladesh is to achieve SDG and developed country status by 2041, Alam noted. “It is believed that to fulfil this journey, India will continue to be a trusted partner. A strong and vibrant India offers immense opportunities for Bangladesh to develop. Bangladesh has created SEZ for South Asian investors, especially Indian investors.”

“The two countries need to focus on priority areas, such as investments, security connectivity development, cross border energy cooperation, blue economy, cultural economy, environment and disaster management and many more...There should be efforts to resolve pending issues concerning sharing of waters, resolving continental shelf issue in the Bay of Bengal, bringing down border incidents to zero, and managing the media. Both countries’ political leadership should ensure that the right environment is created for mutual benefit and more prosperous and developed. “

Alam stated that PM Narendra Modi’s impetus to revive SAARC during COVID-19 was a positive development. The proposed visit of PM Modi in March 2021 holds new grounds for increasing bilateral relations.

For the first time ever, a 122-member strong contingent of the Bangladesh Armed Forces will participate at the Republic Day celebrations. The contingent will be led by contingent commander Lt Col Abu Mohammed Shahnoor Shawon and his deputies Lieutenant Farhan Ishraq and Flight Lieutenant Sibat Rahman. The contingent comprises soldiers of the Bangladesh Army, sailors of the Bangladesh Navy and air warriors of the Bangladesh Air Force.

The majority of the soldiers in this contingent hail from the most distinguished units of the Bangladesh Army comprising 1, 2, 3, 4, 8, 9, 10 & 11 East Bengal Regiment and 1, 2 and 3 Field Artillery Regiment. These units have the distinct honour of fighting and winning the 1971 Liberation War. This Bangladesh contingent carries with them the legacy of legendary Muktijoddhas of Bangladesh.

This year India and Bangladesh celebrate 50 years of the establishment their ties and Bangladesh celebrates 50 years of its independence. Both sides have agreed to hold commemorative events in several other countries and also jointly organize events through out the year.