State Minister for Foreign Affairs Md Shahriar Alam has been leading the Bangladesh delegation during the 8th round of India-Bangladesh Friendship Dialogue in Guwahati that ends today.
The Dialogue inaugurated by the Chief Minister of Assam Sarbananda Sonowal began on June 2. Both the state ministers for foreign affairs of Bangladesh and India presented keynotes as guest of honour.
The event has been jointly organized by India Foundation, Bangladesh Foundation for Regional Studies, Maulana Abul Kalam Azad Institute of Asian Studies (MAKAIS), State Innovation and Transformation Aayog (SITA) and Assistant High Commission of Bangladesh in Guwahati.
State Minister Shahriar said that opening of a new diplomatic mission in Guwahati is a clear demonstration that the Bangladeshi government greatly values it’s relationship with northeast India.
He also said that Hindus in Bangladesh are safe as it is a secular nation. “The religious minorities of Bangladesh can exercise their rights and are able to live in harmony. They have the freedom to practice their own religion because Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s government has provided them with safety and security.”
Chief Minister of Assam Sarbananda Sonowal emphasized on a greater connectivity between India and Bangladesh and hoped for multi-sectoral cooperation between Bangladesh and the northeast of India.
The Assam chief minister sought Bangladesh’s cooperation in Delhi and Dispur’s plan to dredge Brahmaputra and Barak rivers to improve waterways and boot trade with Bangladesh.
“A stretch of Brahmaputra is in Bangladesh known as the Padma which also needs to be dredged for navitional purposes. I am optimistic about Bangladesh’s cooperation in this,”said Sarbananda Sonowal.
Sonowal said combating terrorism is a priority for both the countries: “Together we have to fight common enemies, threats and problems. Our common threats are poverty, terrorism and fundamentalism and we have to combat them together. We have to ensure that territories are not used by forces hostile to both the countries.”
“There is an urgent need to cement market access and remove trade barriers between India and Bangladesh,” he said.
State Minister for Foreign Affairs Md Shahriar Alam during his meeting with Chief Minister of Assam Sarbananda Sonowal said a delegation of business leaders from Dhaka will visit Assam to explore possibilites of trade and commerce.
At the dialogue, India’s Union Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, M J Akbar said: “Prime Minister Narendra Modi has laid out a map for the Act East Policy’s future and East begins with West Bengal, Bangladesh and North East. Unless we bring prosperity to the North East, we won’t be able to implement Act East.”
There was a colourful cultural program presented by Chintak Theatre from Bangladesh and an Assamese cultural team with a dances recital portraying the rich cultural heritages of both the two countries.
The state ministers had a meeting where they discussed a wide range of bilateral issues and future cooperation including dredging of Brahmaputra river and introducing a shipping line between Assam and Bangladesh.
Syed Muazzem Ali, high commissioner of Bangladesh to India and Kazi Muntashir Murshed Assistant high commissioner of Bangladesh in Guwahati were also present during the meetings.