India and Bangladesh have charted a unique model for regional cooperation

Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla on Friday said culture has always played a pivotal role in bringing people closer.

“The true dialogue between and amongst civilizations are always through stories and narratives that people tell the other. In this regard, both India and Bangladesh have been blessed by history, culture, language and above all an ardent belief in freedom, justice and pluralism. Our commonalities are our bridge to a future of peace and prosperity,” Foreign Secretary Shringla said in his remarks at the inaugural function of the 3rd Bangladesh film festival in Kolkata.

Talking about India and Bangladesh relations, he said, “We share a deep passion for cultural freedom. The practice and pursuit of greater cultural vibrancy and expression in our two great societies is what distinguishes us. And I say it with great pride that the deep historical bond between our two nations has been etched in golden letters with the blood of our soldiers. It was protected and preserved by the sheer determination of our people.”

“It was the spirit of 1971 that helped free Bangladesh, it was the spirit of 1971 that spurred the India-Bangladesh relationship and it is this same spirit of 1971 that we recognize today as the foundation of the relationship for the years to come,” he said.

“India and Bangladesh have together charted a unique model for regional cooperation, quite unparalleled in South Asia. The India-Bangladesh bilateral relationship has withstood the test of time, and even as the world undergoes great upheaval in the post-pandemic era, our relationship grows from strength to strength, a fact clearly demonstrated by the robust exchanges that both sides had in recent months,” the Foreign Secretary said.

“Despite the limitations of the COVID-19 pandemic, both sides had a successful Prime Minister-level Virtual Summit as well as a Foreign Minister-level Joint Consultative Commission. I was also able to travel twice to Dhaka last year to exchange views with our partners in Bangladesh. Cooperation is moving forward inexorably. Our Prime Minister is looking forward to his visit to Dhaka,” he added.

“India has been cooperating closely with Bangladesh in dealing with the pandemic. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina had attended the virtual conference of SAARC leaders hosted by Prime Minister to evolve a coordinated response to the pandemic in this region,” Foreign Secretary maintained

“Following the conference, we have had exchanges and training programmes for healthcare personnel and worked with Bangladesh for supplying PPE kits, masks and test kits. Indian made vaccines are being supplied for the benefit of the people of Bangladesh,” he added.

As part of the Bangladesh Film Festival, 32 films would be screened.