Half a century of Indo-Bangla ties moving forward
Yesterday was the historic day of the 49th anniversary of India's official recognition of Peoples Republic of Bangladesh. On this day in 1971 India and Bhutan accorded diplomatic recognition to sovereign Bangladesh. As our War of Liberation was fast reaching its climax during those tumultuous December days in 1971, India following Bhutan became the second country to have joined us in our struggle for freedom. And it heralded the independence of Bangladesh crushing the Pakistan occupation army on December 16, 1971, ending the nine months of War of Liberation.
In the past 49 years bilateral ties between the two countries have strengthened based on mutual and strategic interests. In terms of people-to-people contact and regional tourism the two countries have become indispensable partners for one another. However, in the midst of all accomplishments there still remain a number of unresolved issues which now have begun to be discussed with a firm commitment from Indian side.
The Indian Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla's surprise visit to Dhaka in August was a clear indication that India was taking its most important regional ally with an added value. Additionally, the new Indian High Commissioner to Bangladesh, after assuming office in early October, has shown dynamism and firm commitment to take the bilateral ties to the next stage.
In particular, we appreciate High Commissioner Vikram K Doraiswami's pro-active approach to fill
in the gaps. Especially on the topics of emergency visa for critical patients, steady export of onions, enhancing trade and commerce through utilizing river, railway, and road communications, stronger friendship with Indian north-eastern states. Mr. Doraiswami has been free and frank forward. Most importantly, he has arrived at a critical time by launching his diplomatic innings to ensure fastest possible partnership with Bangladesh on all aspects of C-19 vaccine development. He has already met a number of high profile government ministers and bureaucrats to locate the missing links within our existing ties and work on them based on mutual interests.
It was rather interesting to follow that unlike previous Indian diplomats, entering Bangladesh by air to assume office, Mr. Doraiswami entered through a land port -- signifying India's foreign policy priority on the connectivity links. He arrived in Dhaka on October 5 through Tripura border. Additionally, he has also assured to complete unfinished joint projects to enhance connectivity between the two countries.
Diplomacy is indeed a sophisticated art where rooms for exploring innovative techniques to boost up bilateral ties are always open. Diplomats have to adapt to a fast-changing international political environment. In addition, we now have a global pandemic pressed by financial crises.
Arrival of the new envoy also coincides when Bangladesh is celebrating 'Mujib Borsho', the birth centenary anniversary of our Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, while preparing for the golden jubilee of the country's independence next year, which also marks the 50th anniversary of diplomatic ties between Bangladesh and India. On that note - we have deeply appreciated the new Indian envoy's unveiling of three special edition wristwatches marking the birth centenary of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. The watches made by Titan, a concern of the Tata group in India, contains the portrait and signature of Bangabandhu on the dials.
It may appear a small event, but in the long run the timepieces will find their places in the hands of many -- celebrating the 'Mujib Year' from the lenses of innovative diplomatic ties beside only telling time.
We admire the new Indian envoy's sincerity in his own words, in his maiden meeting with the media he said "I recognise that even the closest of relationships need to be nurtured. My government has ordered me to do exactly that."
The Bangladesh-India relationship is based on shared sacrifice, history and culture, and on the uniquely close ties of kinship, correctly enough it needs continuous deep and heartfelt nurturing. The two countries have repeatedly proven that Indo-Bangla ties are beyond strategic relations.
We are eagerly awaiting the virtual meeting between the Bangladesh and Indian PM on December 17, and optimistically expect to see unresolved and disputed issues are appropriately addressed based on mutual benefits at the summit level talks.
Under the tenure of Mr. Doraiswami we expect to witness a win-win approach from India's side - treat all negotiations with Bangladesh with a frame of mind - seeking to achieve a win-win agreement. That said, our bilateral agreements should not only be acceptable but sustainable, but more importantly would also benefit the other party. It should be reciprocated from both sides.
Triggered by the pandemic, modern diplomacy is currently experiencing fundamental changes at an unprecedented rate, and these changes are affecting the very character of diplomacy as we know it. These changes also affect aspects of domestic and international politics that were once of no great concern to diplomacy. However, it has become clear from the India High Commissioner's frequent wide-ranging public and media engagement in Bangladesh.
Vikram Doraiswami has arrived not only to heal 'unintentional wounds', but also to ensure the traditional and historical ties between the two close neighbours remain unharmed. Given Mr Doraiswami's extensive and wide ranging diplomatic experience in various countries, we are confident of further sustainable ties with our traditional ally and biggest next door neighbour- India.