Officials from Bangladesh and India have emphasised the need to increase the use of the Lines of Credit (LoC) fund in their bilateral development partnership, at Foreign Office Consultations (FOC) held on Friday.
Expressing their satisfaction that the high-level development partnership monitoring mechanism was operationalised with its first meeting held on 3 January this year, both sides noted the importance of the swift implementation of the LoC.
They also stressed the need to streamline and expedite approval processes.
Both sides held a comprehensive review of the progress achieved in their bilateral relationship, including in the areas of: Covid-19 cooperation, trade, connectivity, development partnership, power, energy and water resources, regional and multilateral cooperation, border management, and security and defence cooperation, read a press release from India's external affairs ministry.
The FOC was held in New Delhi. Indian Foreign Secretary Shri Harsh Vardhan Shringla and Bangladesh Foreign Secretary Ambassador Masud Bin Momen co-chaired the meeting.
The Bangladesh foreign secretary was accompanied by Bangladesh High Commissioner to India Mohammad Imran, Secretary (east) Ambassador Mashfee Shams, and representatives from the foreign affairs, commerce, and water resources ministries of Bangladesh.
The Indian delegation consisted of representatives from the: external affairs, home affairs, commerce and industry, jal shakti, and finance ministries.
The discussion focused on preparations for the forthcoming visit of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Dhaka in March 2021. Events relating to the commemoration of the 50th anniversary of diplomatic ties between the two countries were also discussed.
Both sides noted, with appreciation, their close cooperation on Covid-19-related issues, including India's gift of two million doses of the Covishield vaccine to Bangladesh in keeping with India's Neighbourhood First policy.
Underscoring the importance of the year 2021 – in the context of the 50th anniversary of the liberation of Bangladesh, the 50th year of bilateral diplomatic ties as well as the birth centenary of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman – both sides decided to further strengthen their ongoing coordination to jointly commemorate these anniversaries.
In this context, both sides expressed their appreciation for the participation of the Bangladesh tri-service marching contingent in the 2021 Republic Day Parade. Both sides noted the significance of this event in reminding the present generations in both countries of the struggle and sacrifices of Indian and Bangladesh forces and people during the 1971 Liberation War.
The FOC participants expressed their satisfaction with the intensity of bilateral exchanges continuing steadily despite Covid-19. The delegations took note of the recent meetings that both sides had after the 17 December 2020 Virtual Summit, namely the: 51st BSF-BGB Director General Level Talks in Guwahati on 22-26 December, Technical Level Meeting of the Joint Rivers Commission on 6 January, first Police Chiefs' Dialogue on 12 January, as well as 19th Secretary-level Joint Steering Committee meeting on power sector cooperation on 23 January.
The 2nd India-Bangladesh Consular Dialogue was held on Thursday (28 January) in New Delhi. Both sides also agreed to hold the next Home Secretary Level Talks, Commerce Secretary Level Talks, and the Secretary Level Meeting of Joint Rivers Commission before the March 2021 summit.
They also agreed to maintain the steady momentum of bilateral cooperation and people-to-people ties. In this regard, both sides noted with satisfaction the renewal of the Air Travel Bubble arrangement that would facilitate essential travel between the two countries.
Ambassador Masud Bin Momen, during his stay in New Delhi, is due to visit the Bangabandhu-Bapu Digital Exhibition currently on display at Vigyan Bhawan and will be interacting with Indian Foreign Service Officer Trainees at the Sushma Swaraj Institute of Foreign Service.