DHAKA: Ahead of President Ram Nath Kovind's visit to Dhaka, Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla on Tuesday met top Bangladeshi leaders here and reviewed the wide-ranging and growing cooperation between the two countries, including cooperation in tackling the COVID-19 pandemic.
Shringla, who arrived here on a two-day official visit to review the wide-ranging cooperation between the two neighbours, met his counterpart Masud Bin Momen and discussed progress in bilateral ties on all fronts.
During the meeting with his counterpart, Shringla discussed "progress in bilateral ties on all fronts in this special year marking 50 years of the establishment of diplomatic relations between India and Bangladesh," the Indian High Commission in Bangladesh tweeted.
During their joint appearance before the media after the talks, Shringla said there was no major difference in opinions regarding the bilateral pending issues between Bangladesh and India.
"We discussed the issues and found that there were no major differences," he told the media.
On his part, Masud described their talks as "fruitful" and said they 'discussed on how we can make our border peaceful' besides all the pending issues.
Shringla said both the people of India and Bangladesh sacrificed their lives, their blood for the independence of Bangladesh.
"This is very rare. We are proud of your victory, we are proud to be part of your celebration," he said.
He said they also discussed some forward-looking areas like green energy, renewable energy and other sectors that involved the employment opportunity for the youth generation of both the countries.
Shringla said the connectivity projects between the two countries are going very well as five out of the six rail connections have already been restored and the sixth one will be completed by this year.
He also called on Foreign Minister A K Abdul Momen during which they reviewed the wide-ranging and growing cooperation between the two countries, including cooperation in tackling the COVID-19 pandemic.
"Foreign Secretary @harshvshringla called on FM H.E.Dr.A.K.Abdul Momen. Reviewed wide-ranging & growing cooperation between two countries including our #Covid cooperation. Expressed satisfaction on the successful joint celebration of #MaitriDiwas," the Indian High Commission in Bangladesh tweeted.
Foreign Minister Momen said that New Delhi does not want any issue to hinder its excellent ties with Dhaka.
"They (New Delhi authorities) also don't want to see any incident that could affect Bangladesh-India relations," he told reporters after his meeting with Shringla.
Momen said several pending issues relating to bilateral ties including the border killings and water sharing, came up during their discussion.
"They gave us a formula to check unwanted incidents in the frontier," he said, without giving the details.
Both sides in recent years dubbed existing Dhaka-New Delhi ties as a 'golden chapter' of relations but Momen last month called killings on Indo-Bangla borders 'shameful' for India and 'unfortunate' for Bangladesh.
After his meeting with Shringla, Momen said, "we have to solidify the relationship which is needed for the welfare of the people of both the countries".
Shringla said the two sides are working on making Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's visit to India in line with Prime Minister Narendra Modi's invitation.
The Foreign Secretary also called on Minister for Road Transport and Bridges and ruling Awami League General Secretary Obaidul Quader and discussed "our all-encompassing bilateral cooperation including connectivity. Reiterated importance of this special year jointly celebrating #MaitriDiwas," the Indian mission said in another tweet.
He is expected to pay a courtesy call to Prime Minister Hasina on Wednesday.
The visit to Bangladesh will provide an opportunity to review the wide-ranging cooperation between the two countries, said an Indian External Affairs Ministry statement in New Delhi.
The visit will also help prepare the ground for the state visit of President Kovind to Bangladesh from December 15 to 17, it added.
India and Bangladesh celebrated 'Maitri Diwas' on Monday, marking India recognising the newly-formed country of Bangladesh in 1971.
The day was celebrated across 18 countries.