March 2017 \ Interviews \ DIPLOMATIC INTERVIEW
“Our relationship with India is based on mutual benefit and equality”

H.E. Syed Muazzem Ali, High Commissioner of Bangladesh to India

Exchange of visits between the two Foreign Offices particularly at the Ministerial level always pave the way to make it to the highest level. You may have also noticed that a series of Ministerial level and Foreign Secretary level visits have set the right tone and help us to identify areas of mutual cooperation as well as pave the way for implementation of the outcome of the VVIP visits. So, regular interaction is vital to promote all round cooperation.

A record number of bilateral documents were concluded during Mr. Modi’s visit. Please take us through some of the most significant ones…

The 22 agreements/MoUs that were signed during Prime Minister Modi’s visit to Bangladesh cover diverse areas such as security, trade, connectivity, economic cooperation, technology transfer, and scientific research, educational and cultural cooperation. Among the newer areas of cooperation are renewal of Bilateral Trade Agreement, Energy, Agreement on Coastal Shipping, Inland Water Transit and Trade, bus service, Blue Economy and Maritime Cooperation in the Bay of Bengal and the Indian Ocean, use of Chittagong and Mongla ports, newer radio and TV programmes etc. Now, this is important for both the sides to take forward the progress and implement those agreements/MoUs. We are also constantly discussing longer term trade, investment and transit agreements, use of port facilities, blue water cooperation etc. and we hope that their proper and early implementation will bring in a qualitative change in our bilateral ties as well as in our sub-region.

Following President Mukherjee’s visit to Bangladesh in March 2013, H.E. President Mohammad Abdul Hamid visited India in December 2014, marking the first visit by a Head of state from Bangladesh in 42 years. So in a sense, relations have never been better. Your views please.

There is no doubt that bilateral relations have reached its peak in current time. And all these VVIP visits are testimony to that statement. The relationship is now based on “mutual benefit, equality and respect for sovereignty” and “as an example of progress in looking at a shared future”. I believe, the emotional bonds stemming from the invaluable contributions of the Government and the people of India during Bangladesh’s War of Liberation would continue to remain a dominant factor in the country’s political, cultural and social wave.