Saturday, Feb 23, 2019 | Last Update : 12:47 AM IST

Trust vital for bilateral ties, says Sushma Swaraj

THE ASIAN AGE.
Published : Feb 10, 2019, 1:09 am IST
Updated : Feb 10, 2019, 5:23 am IST

It may be recalled that India has always maintained that the Kashmir issue should only be discussed bilaterally between India and Pakistan.

Union Minister for External Affairs Sushma Swaraj (Photo: PTI)
 Union Minister for External Affairs Sushma Swaraj (Photo: PTI)

New Delhi: In what could perhaps be a veiled message to Pakistan that bilateral pending issues can be resolved if there is trust between any two neighbours, external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj has referred to India and Bangladesh settling its land boundary issue peacefully in 2015.

Speaking earlier on Friday at the India-Bangladesh Joint Consultative Commission (JCC) meeting in New Delhi in the presence of visiting Bangladesh foreign minister Dr. A.K. Abdul Momen, Ms Swaraj said, “We remain ready to provide maximum possible support since a prosperous, secure and progressive Bangladesh is in India’s direct national interest. This is why our government was able to settle long standing bilateral issues including on our land boundary. This is also the reason that we believe all pending issues can also be similarly brought to amicable solutions.”

It may be recalled that India has always maintained that the Kashmir issue should only be discussed bilaterally between India and Pakistan. It may also be recalled that India and Bangladesh had transferred certain border enclaves to each other in 2015, thereby peacefully resolving their land boundary issue. However, certain other pending issues also remain with Bangladesh too such as sharing of water resources.

Speaking about Indo-Bangladesh ties, Ms Swaraj significantly said, “Our goals should be to set ambitious goals for our system to reach in a short term so that our friendship remains a model for good neighbourly relations across the world. In this context I want to reiterate that India stands in full support of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s developmental agenda. ...

First and foremost, the bedrock of our partnership is trust and mutual understanding. This is natural as our relationship was forged by your liberation war.”

She added, “It helps that our nations are today the fastest growing economies in the world. We are proud that Bangladesh is our largest development partner accounting for 30 percent of our concessional trade. We are also pleased that our credit terms for Bangladesh are uniquely concessional. Our grant in aid projects and our credit lines are designed to support Bangladesh aspirations of becoming a middle income country by 2021 and a developed country by 2041. ... We also aim to help realise Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s goal of re-establishing pre 1965 physical connectivity as well as the spirit of our well connected, closely integrated neighbourhood.”

Ms. Swaraj further remarked, “As (Bangladesh) Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has said, India-Bangladesh are at a ‘Sonali Adhyaya’- A Golden chapter. I trust your (Dr. Momen’s) visit enables us to ensure that our relations are always golden.”

Tags: sushma swaraj, india-bangladesh
Location: India, Delhi, New Delhi