Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday said Bangladesh is one of the significant pillars of India’s ‘Neighbourhood First’ policy.
“It has been my priority to strengthen and deepen the relationship with Bangladesh,” Modi said during a conference with his Bangladesh counterpart Sheikh Hasina. “It is true that the year has been tough due to the [coronavirus] pandemic. However, it is satisfying to know that even in these challenging times, India and Bangladesh have maintained good cooperation, be it on medicines, medical equipment or working with health professionals.”
The prime minister said that there is also good cooperation between the countries on Covid-19 vaccine support. “We will give special emphasis to your needs regarding this [vaccine support],” Modi said.
Modi also paid tribute to the martyrs from both India and Bangladesh who died in the 1971 liberation war. “It is an honour for us to celebrate Bangladesh’s victory against the anti-liberation forces with you,” he said. “When Bangladesh is celebrating 50 years of Independence, I would want to pay tribute to the martyrs of both nations, who sacrificed their lives.”
Meanwhile, Hasina also paid homage to the martyrs of the 1971 war and expressed her gratitude to India and its army for their support.
The two leaders through the video conference jointly inaugurated a Bangabandhu-Bapu digital exhibition, which commemorates the lives of Bangladesh’s first President Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and Mahatma Gandhi, The Indian Express reported. They also inaugurated a pre-1965 railway link and released a commemorative stamp on Rehman’s birth centenary.
India and Bangladesh have also signed seven agreements in areas including agriculture, hydrocarbons, community development and textiles, reported PTI.
The Bangabandhu-Bapu digital exhibition will be first on display in New Delhi, and then move to different locations in Bangladesh, the United Nations and finally culminate in Kolkata in early 2022.
“It is a matter of pride for me that I am getting to release a digital exhibition on Mahatma Gandhi and Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rehman,” Modi said. “They will continue to inspire our youths.”