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Indo-Bangla destinies interlinked: Pranab

Source : IBNS
Last Updated: Wed, Mar 06, 2013 13:43 hrs
Indo-Bangla destinies interlinked: Pranab

New Delhi, Mar 6 (IBNS) President Pranab Mukherjee on Wednesday said the destinies of India and Bangladesh are interlinked and that the two countries are preparing to expand their sub-regional cooperation.

During his on board media interaction en route from Dhaka, Mukherjee said: "It is important for us to enable better people-to-people exchanges which will benefit both countries. I made it clear that we wish to grow together with Bangladesh because our destinies are interlinked."


"Apart from bilateral cooperation, we are now preparing to expand our cooperation at the sub-regional level. This holds great promise for the security, growth and connectivity that can transform the entire region," he said.

The President said he was impressed by the vibrancy of the people of Bangladesh.

"Like India, they have a large population of youth. They are committed to democracy, tolerance, an inclusive social order, free media, and building a modern and progressive state. They seek to consolidate the institutions of democracy and keep alive the spirit of their liberation struggle. We wish them well in this great endeavour," he said.

He said he had excellent discussions with the leadership of Bangladesh and also had the opportunity to meet a cross section of society.

"A democratic, secular and progressive Bangladesh is clearly in India's interest. In this context, we conveyed to all our interlocutors the need for an inclusive political process and the maintenance of communal peace and harmony," said Mukherjee.

"We are hopeful that internal political differences can be resolved through dialogue, and that the rights of all communities could be fully respected. I am returning with the hope and confidence that India and Bangladesh can together build a better future for our people and that our relations can serve as an example for the rest of South Asia," he said.

Transcript of Mukherjee´s media interaction:

Hon. President of India (Shri Pranab Mukherjee): First of all I hope you have enjoyed your stay there. I could not meet you there, but I hope our people and their people have taken care of you and you did not have to face any uncomfortable situation.

I have concluded my first visit abroad as President to friendly neighbour in Bangladesh. I am fully satisfied by my visit which was fruitful and productive. I was received with exceptional warmth and friendship, and wish to thank the Government of Bangladesh once again for the excellent arrangements they made.

I was touched by the gesture of the Government of Bangladesh to recognize my modest contribution to their Liberation War. As I said in my acceptance speech yesterday, the honour goes to India as a whole and the large number of Indians who actively supported the birth of Bangladesh.

My visit has served to reinforce the special importance that the Government and people of India attach to developing the best possible relations with an important and large neighbour like Bangladesh. We believe that a strong, stable and rapidly developing Bangladesh is in the interest of not only its people but in the interest of the entire region. I, therefore, assured the Government and people of Bangladesh that India will be a willing long-term development partner.

I underlined our commitment to resolving all outstanding issues in our bilateral relations. I was happy to see that the line of credit extended by India is being used effectively to enhance transport facilities and development projects in the country.

I am happy that Shri Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, Minister of State for Railways, and four hon'ble Members of Parliament - Shri Sitaram Yechury, Dr. Chandan Mitra, Shri Mukul Roy and Shri Bhubaneswar Kalita - from leading political parties in India could accompany me to meetings with Bangladesh leaders. Their presence is reflective of the broad-based support in India, cutting across party lines, to developing strong and friendly relations with Bangladesh.

I was impressed by the vibrancy of the people of Bangladesh. Like India, they have a large population of youth. They are committed to democracy, tolerance, an inclusive social order, free media, and building a modern and progressive state. They seek to consolidate the institutions of democracy and keep alive the spirit of their liberation struggle. We wish them well in this great endeavour.

It is important for us to enable better people-to-people exchanges which will benefit both countries. I made it clear that we wish to grow together with Bangladesh because our destinies are interlinked. Apart from bilateral cooperation, we are now preparing to expand our cooperation at the sub-regional level. This holds great promise for the security, growth and connectivity that can transform the entire region.

I had excellent discussions with the leadership of Bangladesh and also had the opportunity to meet a cross section of society. A democratic, secular and progressive Bangladesh is clearly in India's interest. In this context, we conveyed to all our interlocutors the need for an inclusive political process and the maintenance of communal peace and harmony. We are hopeful that internal political differences can be resolved through dialogue, and that the rights of all communities could be fully respected. I am returning with the hope and confidence that India and Bangladesh can together build a better future for our people and that our relations can serve as an example for the rest of South Asia.

Thank you.

Question: ...(Inaudible)... unprecedented reception at Dhaka University. ...(Inaudible)...

Hon. President: Perhaps one thing is I am told but the facts are to be fully verified that in the history of the 92 years of the existence of Dhaka University, mine was the first all Bengali convocation speech. Earlier to me, Professor Amartya Sen delivered the convocation speech some years ago. But it was a mixture of English and Bengali. Mine was a prepared text of convocation address fully in Bengali language. And you know the commitment of the Dhaka University to furthering the cause of their language and culture. It is well-known. Secondly, as I mentioned umpteen number of times that in my life I have seen that I have received much more than I have given to others. That could be the difference.

Question: ...(Inaudible)...

Hon. President: These are essentially the internal political issues which are to be resolved by the political parties of the countries concerned. In a multiparty democratic system, there would be divergences of the view on issues. But at the same time the beauty of the multiparty democratic system is that it is resolve in the way which is acceptable to the participants.

Question: ...(Inaudible)...

Hon. President: We had the joint celebration of the 150th birth anniversary of Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore. The 100th year of Gitanjali was observed by Bangladesh artistes. Indian artistes also participated in the complex of the Silaidaha ...(Inaudible)... And what I saw there I am quite impressed. It has been developed into a beautiful tourist heritage centre. The articles used by Tagore are maintained very carefully. The place is neat and clean. Bangladesh Government and people of Bangladesh are maintaining it very well. Though I had very little time, I was running one hour late, but I fully enjoyed it.

Question: ...(Inaudible)...

Hon. President: I have already said in my statement that all outstanding issues will be resolved through dialogue.

Question: How did you feel during your visit to Narail?

Hon. President: It is exclusively personal, but I can share with you that it was the first time I was visiting my in-laws' house. And that too, I have married in 1957, more than half a century ago. But my visit to my in-laws' house is for the first time. And except one, whom I saw very young, I did not know anybody. I told him to introduce the others who are supposed to be my relatives.

Question: What did they gift you?

Hon. President: They treated me exactly the same way when a new bridegroom is received in the house, at this age of 78. Question: In Bengali it is called Dwiragaman.

Hon. President: Dwiragaman hoi nai, because the first time I did not go.

During the marriage, the groom goes for the first time. And when he goes second time, then it is called Dwiragaman, that is coming twice. In my case it was not even the first time.

Question: What about Jamai Shashti?

Hon. President: There is a system in Bengal that on that particular day they send some gifts to the bridegroom's house. Prime Minister Hasina was telling me that this year I shall have to think of sending some gift to you on that occasion. It was just a joke.

Question: Sir, the entire trip was good but there was some little bit pinch of salt in between because the Leader of Opposition Begum Khaleda Zia had cancelled her meeting with you at the last moment. What is your reaction about that?

Hon. President: I think Foreign Secretary has already briefed you on that.

Thank you.

(Concluded)

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