India attaches highest importance to ties with Bangladesh

India on Friday said it attached highest importance to bilateral relations with Bangladesh and that there is a "wish" and "will" to strengthen this.

PTI| Updated: Dec 19, 2014, 23:49 PM IST

New Delhi: India on Friday said it attached highest importance to bilateral relations with Bangladesh and that there is a "wish" and "will" to strengthen this.

An assurance in this regard was conveyed by the top Indian leadership during talks with the visiting Bangladesh President Abdul Hamid, as the two countries discussed ways to forge closer cooperation, particularly to step up economic engagement and improving connectivity.

At the meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Hamid, both leaders agreed that India and Bangladesh should take the lead in ensuring closer cooperation in the region.

President Pranab Mukherjee while welcoming his Bangladesh counterpart assured him that India attaches the highest importance to bilateral relations with the country, a close friend and neighbour, as India always believed that a strong, stable and prosperous Bangladesh is in its interest.

Mukherjee also handed over to Hamid a 'historic audio-visual gift' comprising news clips of All India Radio and Doordarshan during 1971 liberation of Bangladesh.

He said it is greatly satisfying for India to see Bangladesh showing a high growth economy with a promising future.

"It is heartening to see the impressive strides made by Bangladesh on human development, healthcare, education, women?s empowerment and other socio-economic fronts," the President was quoted as saying in an official release.

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj also called on Hamid and conveyed to him that there was "wish" and "will" on the part of the new government in India to stregthen bilateral ties with Bangladesh.

"Wish is there & will is there to strengthen our bilateral ties - Minister @SushmaSwaraj to Bangladesh's President," External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin tweeted.

In his meeting with Hamid, Mukherjee recalled that valiant Mukti Bahini soldiers fought along with Indian troops for Bangladesh's liberation and expressed the hope that these recordings will remind the people of Bangladesh of those momentous times.

Reciprocating similar sentiments, Hamid praised Mukherjee for having been a friend of Bangladesh for long and said the people of the neighbouring country hold the President in the highest of regard.

Mukherjee, who was discharged from a hospital after a week-long stay there during which he underwent coronory angioplasty, welcomed Hamid on his maiden visit to India and complimented him for the personal role played by him in consolidation of Indo-Bangla relations.

A PMO statement said Modi lauded Hamid's contribution to Bangladesh's War of Liberation and said it was a privilege to welcome a "Mukti jodha" in the week when Bangladesh celebrates the success of its liberation campaign.