NEW DELHI: The National Register of Citizens (NRC) exercise is “a process that is entirely internal to India. Therefore, there will be no implications for the government and people of Bangladesh. You have our assurance on that count,” foreign secretary Harsh Shringla told a high-powered audience in Dhaka on Monday, addressing the cause of a lot of disquiet in Bangladesh.

Shringla is the senior-most Indian official to visit Bangladesh after the CAA-NRC controversy broke out here, which saw Bangladesh cancelling the visits of foreign minister A K Abdul Momen and home minister Asaduzzaman Khan to India late last year.

In his first visit as foreign secretary, Shringla met PM Sheikh Hasina where they discussed bilateral ties and preparations for PM Modi’s visit to Dhaka later this month. The foreign secretary also met his counterpart Masud Bin Mamun and Obaidul Qadir, minister for transport and Awami League secretary general.

Shringla also offered to sell all military hardware made in India to Bangladesh. “We believe that our ongoing efforts to develop a robust ties between our militaries emphasises trust of a high order. Especially since we are willing to share with you any and all military hardware being manufactured in India for use by our military. We also welcome the opportunity for our officers to train at your top military institutions, just as we are ready to open military training institutes at all levels — from officer cadet training to specialised higher command training — to Bangladesh.” India has already offered a $500 million defence cooperation assistance to Bangladesh.

Asserting that India wanted the “closest possible ties with Bangladesh” Shringla said, “it is entirely in India’s interest to fully support your own efforts to build a strong, prosperous, progressive, peaceful and harmonious Bangladesh; to build a nation that stays true to the extraordinarily inclusive vision of Bangabandhu.”

Gowher Rizvi, Sheikh Hasina’s adviser said at the same conference, that Dhaka does not like to see any situation in India that could affect Bangladesh’s secular social fabric. “Our commitment to secularism is absolutely central and we do not want to see any situation where our secularism will be threatened anyway,” he said. Describing India’s NRC as a “burning issue”, Rizvi said, minorities in Bangladesh were “absolutely equal citizens” with the government attaching the highest priority in protecting and addressing their rights and issues.