Indian High Commissioner in Dhaka Pranay Verma has said New Delhi remains ready to walk together with Dhaka in future while India gives top priority to Bangladesh in its 'neighbourhood fast' policy.
"India had stood by the people of Bangladesh in 1971 and will stand ready to walk together with them in future as well, on the road to greater prosperity and success," he said while speaking on the occasion of the Maitri Diwas on Tuesday evening, reports BSS.
The envoy said there is a great degree of commitment from the leaders of Bangladesh and India to take the bilateral ties to newer heights.
"India attaches top priority to its relations with Bangladesh. For us, it is "neighbourhood first"; but in the neighbourhood too, it is "Bangladesh first"," Verma said.
He said the current bilateral relationship between India and Bangladesh is truly multifaceted and complementing each other's national development.
Indian High Commission here hosted the reception and musical evening to celebrate the 51st anniversary of Maitri Diwas at Kurmitola Golf Club in Dhaka cantonment.
It is on this day in 1971 that India recognised an independent and sovereign Bangladesh, 10 days before Bangladesh's liberation.
The decision to mark December 6 as Maitri Diwas was taken by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina during the state visit of Modi to Bangladesh in March 2021.
In his speech, the Indian high commissioner highlighted the significance of the day as an opportunity to reflect on the achievements of the past 51 years of India-Bangladesh partnership and the promise for the future.
He described India-Bangladesh friendship as rooted in the shared sacrifices of 1971 and fostered by strong ties of history, language and culture.
"Our friendship is rooted in the shared sacrifices of the Liberation War and guided by the values, ideals and the visions espoused by Bangabandhu," Verma said.
Pointing that Bangladesh's liberation changed the political map of South-Asia, the envoy said, "But it (Bangladesh independence) also changed our ideological map: your freedom proved beyond doubt that the common bonds of culture, civilisation, and language are what fundamentally connect people closer to each other than anything else".
Noting that both the countries have made important achievements in the last 50 years, he emphasised that they must now ensure that their future generations understand this history and preserve the legacy of 1971.
"With our soldiers having shed blood together with the Muktijoddhas, the bonds we share are eternal and will always stand the test of time," Verma observed.
The envoy said India-Bangladesh cooperation covers not only traditional areas like trade, commerce, development partnership, security and border management but also newer areas such as clean energy, IT and space.
Verma said Bangladesh is today India's largest development partner, with credit lines worth over 8 billion dollars while more than 80 per cent of projects under these lines of credit are for infrastructure and connectivity.
At the same time, he said, Indian High Impact Community Development Projects in Bangladesh are contributing to socio-economic development at the grassroots.
"We are working together to fulfil our shared vision of peace and prosperity for our people by building mutually beneficial cross-border connectivity that would further strengthen our economic, cultural and people-to-people connection," the envoy observed.
Besides, he said, in the international arena, Indian and Bangladesh are working closely together.
"As India has assumed the presidency of G-20 this month, we are delighted that at our invitation, Bangladesh has joined these deliberations as a Guest Country, to make valuable contributions with its own experience - to advance the global efforts for collective well-being during these challenging times," he said.
Liberation War Affairs Minister AKM Mozammel Haque joined the event as the chief guest.