Indian High Commissioner to Bangladesh Riva Ganguly Das on Tuesday expressed satisfaction over the growing people-to-people contact between Bangladesh and India, mentioning that record 15 lakh visas were issued to Bangladesh citizens in 2019.
"We're seeing the results. Even a few years back, we used to issue 6.5 lakh to 7 lakh visas yearly. This year, we issued 15 lakh visas," she told reporters after handing over passports with Indian visas to three freedom fighters at the integrated state-of-the-art Indian Visa Application Centre (IVAC) at Jamuna Future Park in the city.
High Commissioner Riva Ganguly handed over the landmark visa (Visa no: 15,00,000 & above) to three freedom fighters Md Shafiqul Islam, Noor Mohammed Mallik and Md Atiar Rehman who have been given five-year multiple entry visas.
Asked whether Indian will get benefited economically with the growing number of Bangladesh citizens visiting India, Riva Ganguly responded positively and said India will certainly be benefitted economically as many go there for shopping and on business purposes.
The High Commissioner highlighted the importance of people-to-people relations between the two friendly countries and expressed satisfaction for hassle-free visa issuance through growing number of visa application centers.
"People-to-people diplomacy is very important in any two countries' relations. We welcome the increased number of visits by people," she said.
The High Commissioner said they are very happy that nobody needs to say anything about visa complexities these days as visa is being issued very smoothly.
She said India has opened 15 Indian Visa Application Centres in Bangladesh with further liberalization of visa process.
"We'll want a large number of people visit to India with increased communication between people," said the High Commissioner.
These centers are benefiting the people of Bangladesh as a large number of people from the country visit India every year, she said.
The High Commission issued around 9.76 lakh visas in 2016 and today Bangladeshi people constitute the largest number of visitors to India.
The High Commissioner mentioned about smoother bus and train communication between the two countries and hoped that an increased number of people from Bangladesh will visit India and explore beautiful places like Sikkim.
The relations between the two close neighbours will be strengthened with stronger people-to-people contact as this is the foundation of relations.
Bangladesh and India have planned to strengthen relationship between the two countries through exchange of ideas involving youths.
On December 24, the Indian Cabinet, chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, approved a memorandum of understanding (MoU) between Bangladesh and India on cooperation over youth matters.
Exchange programmes in the field of youth affairs between Bangladesh and India will help promote exchange of ideas, values and culture amongst youths and consolidate friendly relations, according to Press Information Bureau (PIB), India.
It will help develop international perspective among the youth and expand their knowledge and expertise in the areas of youth affairs, India says.
The MoU on cooperation over youth affairs was one of the bilateral documents signed on October 5 in New Delhi during Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's visit.
Both Bangladesh and India will cooperate with each other to commemorate the upcoming anniversaries of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman in 2020; 50 years of Bangladesh's War of Liberation; and the establishment of India-Bangladesh bilateral diplomatic ties in 2021.