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India’s railways, commerce and industries Piyush Goyal has said that as a trusted friend, neighbour and partner, Bangladesh would be the first country of India’s Look East Policy.

“India is looking forward a comprehensive partnership with Bangladesh as it is the largest trading partner of India in South Asia,” he said while highlighting the Indo-Bangladesh ties that reached a “newer height” during the last couple of years.

He said the relations between the two countries are “very dynamic, robust and stronger” at present as the relations are based-on history and culturalbonds and people to people contact of both the countries.

The Indian minister expressed these views while addressing a reception organised by Bangladesh High Commission here marking the 50th years of Independence and National Day of Bangladesh on the chancery premises last evening as the chief guest.

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Bangladesh high commissioner to India Muhammad Imran gave an introductory speech welcoming the distinguished guests including members of diplomatic community, Bangladesh Independence War Veterans, local elite and journalists.

Lauding Bangladesh’s performance in economic sector and its transition to developing country from the least developed one, Piyush Goyal said it has been made possible due to hard work of its people, their unflinching support to democracy and hard work and visionary leadership of prime minister Sheikh Hasina.

“Bangladesh’s progress in 50 years of its independence is very impressive although 50 years is not a long time for a nation to achieve the progress as the country had faced two periods of turmoil- one in 1947 and another one during its 1971 War of Liberation,” he added.

Expressing India’s commitment to work with its trusted friend Bangladesh in hands in hands for further progress of the two nations, Piyush hoped that Bangladesh and India would be able to celebrate their 100 years of establishment of diplomatic ties together as developed nations.

He paid rich tribute to Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman for his love and empathy to his countrymen and life long struggle for the cause of an independence and sovereign state free from hunger and poverty.

High commissioner Imran while highlighting Bangladesh’s economic progress said the country has become a role model in the world for fighting poverty, empowering women and disaster management.

He said Bangladesh also made commendable progress in achieving food security despite frequent natural disasters and the economic size of Bangladesh has reached $330 billion, with GDP growth during COVID times standing at 5.2 per cent.

Imran said at present 99 per cent of the country has come under electricity supply while 150 million people have the access to mobile phones and 100 million are connected to the internet.

Besides, Bangladesh’s textile industry is second largest in the world, fourth largest rice producer and is in self-sufficient in food.

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The Bangladesh envoy paid tributes to Indian soldiers who laid down their lives during the Bangladesh’s War of Independence in 1971.

In this connection, he said Bangladesh will build a memorial for Indian soldiers in Ashuganj near Dhaka, the foundation stone for which was laid during Indian premier Modi’s Bangladesh visit in March.

Speaking on Rohingya issue, he sought support from the international communities to extend their cooperation for speedy return of the displaced citizens of Myanmar to their home land.

On Bangladesh-India relations, he said over the last decade the relations between the two neighbouring countries have reached a new height with comprehensive partnership covering all areas of cooperation under the able leadership of prime minister Sheikh Hasina.

The reception was followed by a cultural function and screening of two documentaries. At the very beginning of the programme, a band of Bangladesh army played national anthems of both the countries.

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