“History will always bear witness to unique foundation of our friendship,” he said

President Ram Nath Kovind on Thursday said India has always attached the highest priority to its friendship with Bangladesh.

“We remain committed to doing all we can, to help realize the full potential of our friendship,” President Kovind said this while attending a special programme to mark the golden jubilee of the Independence of Bangladesh and the conclusion of “Mujib Borsho” celebrations.

“We have witnessed the commendable economic growth achieved by Bangladesh in the last decade, which has also created opportunities for its citizens to realize their full potential,” he said.

“Your country’s stellar economic performance complemented by geographical advantage can benefit the entire sub-region and the world, Kovind added.

“There is a growing recognition among international experts about the fact that close sub-regional trade, economic cooperation and connectivity will help accelerate the process of achieving a Shonar Bangla in the shortest possible period of time,” he stated.

“In recent years, we have seen steady expansion of trade, economic cooperation, people-to-people ties, student exchanges and extensive engagements across multiple areas of activity,” he informed.

“These are guarantees of a sustainable, deep friendship, based on mutual respect, sovereign equality and our respective long-term interests. I am glad that our recent efforts have been inspired by this vision,” he said.

Paying tribute to the memory of the untold suffering of tens of millions of people of Bangladesh, the President stated it is their sacrifice and righteousness of the cause of Bangladesh that has transformed the region.

Arguing that seldom has humanity witnessed sacrifices in a scale so epic as during the 1971 War of Liberation, he said, “Your struggle for freedom has a special place in hearts of every Indian, especially those of my generation.”

“History also has few examples to equal the scale of empathy and grass-root-level support that your struggle evoked in India,” he said.

Recalling that the people of India spontaneously opened their hearts and homes to offer all possible support to the people of Bangladesh, Kovind said, it was our abiding honour and our solemn responsibility to help our brothers and sisters in their hour of need.

“History will always bear witness to this unique foundation of our friendship, forged in the people’s war that liberated Bangladesh,” he mentioned.

Terming the Bangladesh government’s invitation to him to visit and participate in this celebration of 50 years of the Liberation War is a unique honour, President Kovind said, it is also a true reflection of our very special friendship.

“Like Prime Minister Narendra Modi, I am delighted that my first visit outside India since the outbreak of the COVID pandemic is to your country, Bangladesh. I am also honoured to participate in the Mujib Borsho celebrations,” he maintained.

He said as a youth he was inspired by the moral courage of Bangabandhu, Kovind added, like millions of others, he was electrified by his powerful voice, and the understanding that it carried the aspirations of 70 million people of Bangladesh at that time.

“The vision of Bangabandhu was of a Bangladesh that was not only free politically, but also of a nation that was equitable and inclusive. Sadly, his vision could not be realised in his lifetime,” he maintained.

“If the first 50 years of our partnership began by surmounting extraordinary challenges that forged a deep friendship between our people, perhaps the time has come to raise the bar even higher,” the President said.

To achieve that, our businesses, our academics and especially our youth must be motivated to jointly create globally-pioneering initiatives in the world of ideas, creativity, commerce and technology, he held.

“Our innovators should be urged to find new solutions, based on locally-appropriate technologies, to address our common development challenges,” he reasoned.

“We must urge our thinkers to leverage the power of our own unique success stories, to find ‘best-in-class’ ideas that are relevant in our regional context. Together we can create opportunities for seamless flow of ideas and innovation as we enter a new era of inter-connectivity,” he submitted.