India supports to maintain democratic continuity: Foreign minister

Indian High Commissioner Pranay Verma meets Foreign Minister Hasan Mahmud at the foreign ministry in Dhaka on 15 January, 2024.PID

Referring to the previous three national elections in the country, Foreign Minister Hasan Mahmud has said India has consistently extended its support to preserve democratic continuity in Bangladesh.

He made the statement while talking to the media at his office in Dhaka Monday, following a meeting with the Indian high commissioner to Bangladesh, Pranay Verma.

“India stood by our side in 2014 when there were many conspiracies going on surrounding the election. In 2018, there were efforts to make the election controversial as well as to raise many questions on it; India was beside us then too. This time, you all know what was or is the stance of India over holding an election to maintain democratic continuity,” he stated.

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The newly appointed foreign minister expressed his interest to make his first overseas trip to India. Asked about the probable date, he said he has been invited from India, and both sides were working to find a time suitable for the two foreign ministers.

Regarding his discussions with Pranay Verma, the foreign minister said, “We have discussed different issues, though it was a courtesy call. We particularly discussed the issues of connectivity, border haats, and trade expansion, with great importance.”

Besides, they discussed scopes of trade expansion through transactions in BDT and INR, which has already started on a small scale.

“There were discussions between us on ways to expand it, make it popular, and known to all. If it is done, our dependency on dollar will subside, and so will India’s. It will be conducive for trade expansion in both countries,” he asserted.

Their topics of discussion also included the election situation and activities of opposition parties in Bangladesh.