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India-Bangladesh relations are on ‘right track’, say former envoys

Staff Correspondent,

Published: 2014-11-14 22:53:06.0 BdST Updated: 2014-11-14 23:03:42.0 BdST

They made came during the ‘Lesson from the past’ session on the first day of the first-ever India-Bangladesh High Commissioners’ summit that started on Friday.

Foreign Minister Abul Hassan Mahmood Ali inaugurated the summit at Dhaka University’s Nawab Ali Chowdhury Senate Bhaban.Past and present high commissioners of India and Bangladesh have joined the meet to share experiences and offer insights into India-Bangladesh relations. Friday’s session was also attended by teachers and students.

IS Chadha, who served as the Indian High Commissioner to Dhaka from Oct 1985 to Feb 1989, said mutual trust and national consensus must be prioritised to strengthen the relations.

He said both countries were fortunate because they had strong political leadership.

Muchkund Dubey, who was in Dhaka from Oct 1979 to Oct 1982 during the regime of military ruler Ziaur Rahman, thinks the current state of bilateral relations is ‘better than the past’.

Both countries were working together based on confidence and understanding, he said, adding that this was the ‘right time’ to further develop the bilateral economic relations.

Former Bangladesh High Commissioner to India Faruk Ahmed Choudhury said inclusion of stakeholders was necessary when policies were thought out to resolve unsettled issues and strengthen ties.

He thought the civil society also had an important role to play in such case.

CM Shafi Sami, former Bangladesh envoy to India, said Bangladesh-India relations was important for the whole region as well.

“India is the rising economic superpower of the world. Close relations with Bangladesh will assist India to lead the world economy,” he said.

Sami said Bangladesh-India relations were on the ‘right track’. “Specific goals must be set to resolve problems, so the unsettled issues don’t stay pending.”

However, former Bangladesh envoy Farooq Sobhan thought the neighbours were yet to have the expected level of trust between them, which had a negative impact on the bilateral relations.

He emphasised joint planning to wipe out terrorism and militancy from the countries and developing regional cooperation.

Former envoy Harun ur Rashid who served in Kolkata said maintaining a ‘parallel and balanced’ relation should be of greater importance.

He said, “Border killings must be lowered to zero. And land boundary and Teesta water-sharing agreements must be settled urgently.”

The former high commissioners felt the security issue was vital in strengthening the relations.

After the session on Friday, the former diplomats attended a question-answer session with the teachers and students.

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