Dhaka: India and Bangladesh are "partners in progress, peace and prosperity" and the two countries should work together to grow further, BJP general-secretary Ram Madhav has said underlining that despite being a big nation India was not a "big brother" of its "special neighbour."
"In the last four decades, I think you have realised that although we are a big country, we are not a big brother. The idea of neighbourhood is not rivalry but partner," he said.
"We are partners, we are partners in progress, peace and prosperity," he said.
Madhav, also a director of the BJP-aligned thinktank India Foundation, said this during the inauguration of 7th India- Bangladesh dialogue jointly organised by Friends of Bangladesh with the theme 'Ground Rules of a New Paradigm' last night.
Mentioning that both Bangladesh and India have very "well-drafted" constitutions, Madhav said, "We need to protect and uphold the constitution."
"Our growth and development should be complimentary. We should grow together and we should work together."
He promised continued support for the Awami League-led government of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and praised her leadership for "protecting" democracy in the country.
"The way she protected Bangladesh's democracy is quite laudable," he said while apparently criticising her main rival Khaleda Zia of Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) for spearheading a violent campaign to topple the government.
"It (freedom) does not give us license to say that we'll destroy the constitutional system... It does not give us permission to burn buses, burn public property and engage in violence," the BJP leader said.
The BNP last year spearheaded a violent street campaign in a bid to force Hasina to step down and hold a new vote under a neutral caretaker administration after a disputed 2014 poll.
The BNP refused to take part in the 2014 general election, saying it was rigged.
More than 120 people were killed and hundreds injured in the violence - mostly in petrol bomb attacks on vehicles - amid transport blockades and strikes by the opposition.
Foreign Minister Mahmood Ali, who joined the opening of the two-day dialogue where Madhav spoke, said India-Bangladesh ties made remarkable progress in the past years with the historic land-boundary agreement being the latest achievement.
He, however, said the sharing of waters in common rivers still remained an outstanding issue.
"Water is a very sensitive and important issue in Bangladesh-India relations," Ali said. He hoped that it would be resolved "soon" in the spirit of "good neighbourliness."
Several academics, ex-diplomats and security analysts attended the dialogue.