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Remarks by External Affairs Minister at the Joint Video Conference with Bangladesh for inauguration of four bilateral projects

March 11, 2019

Shri Narendra Modi ji,
Hon’ble Prime Minister of India;

Your Excellency Sheikh Hasina ji,
Prime Minister of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh;

Your Excellency Dr AK Abdul Momen ji,
Foreign Minister of Bangladesh;
Distinguished Members of Parliament from Bangladesh


It is a matter of great pleasure for me to greet the distinguished dignitaries of Bangladesh, over video-link while we host representatives of the Bangladeshi people in New Delhi. I warmly welcome Members of the Jatiya Sangsad, who have just met our Prime Minister.

The four projects that our leaders will inaugurate before us today, symbolize the breadth and depth of our partnership. These projects are designed to bring direct benefit to the lives of the people by offering :

(i) accessible healthcare;

(ii) drinking water supply;

(iii) public transport; and

(iv) by connecting premier research centres through our National Knowledge Network.

These projects are not only visible proof of the energy and strength of our partnership, but also an affirmation of our ‘Neighbourhood First Policy’.

As I have said earlier – "Neighbours first, and among neighbours, Bangladesh first of all”.

Excellencies,

The credit for this remarkable phase in India-Bangladesh ties goes to the vision and statesmanship of our two Prime Ministers. Their sagacity has been matched only by their political commitment to taking our partnership to new heights, and to making India-Bangladesh ties a model for our region— and in future, for the world as well.

Excellencies,

Our partnership is the best example of how cooperation for mutual benefit not only brings prosperity, it also reduces space for extremism. In the last five years, cooperation in security, and our shared strong commitment to eradicate terror has developed in tandem with closer political cooperation and committed efforts to improve the lives of our people.

And the results today are visible for all to see. Our uniquely concessional loans, grants and capacity building have made Bangladesh our most significant development partner.

I reaffirm that India will remain a reliable partner, committed to support Bangladesh’s ongoing transformation as a dynamic hub of development.

Today, our partnership touches upon every conceivable aspect of government activity:-

(i) from high technology, digital communications, atomic energy and space, to

(ii) water treatment plants and clinics.

We should now set ourselves more ambitious targets, aimed at preserving the special character of India-Bangladesh ties. In the years ahead, we look forward to working together to realize the promise of a fully-integrated neighbourhood, in which transport and energy links are restored or built anew, for mutual benefit, thereby facilitating the easy movement of goods, services and people.

In closing, I congratulate all those associated with these projects inaugurated today. I also wish to express my deep gratitude to both our honourable Prime Ministers, for the consistent guidance and priority given to this relationship. It is the reason for our success today.

Thank you

New Delhi
March 11, 2019

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