Jan 29: India and Bangladesh held Foreign Office Consultations (FOC) on January 29, 2021, in New Delhi. Foreign Secretary Shri Harsh Vardhan Shringla from the Indian side and Foreign Secretary Ambassador Masud Bin Momen from the Bangladesh side co-chaired the meeting.
The Bangladesh Foreign Secretary was accompanied by Bangladesh High Commissioner H.E. Mr. Mohammad Imran, Secretary (East) Ambassador Mashfee Shams, and representatives from the Ministries of Foreign Affairs, Commerce, and Water Resources of Bangladesh. The Indian delegation consisted of representatives from the Ministries of External Affairs, Home Affairs, Commerce and Industry, Jal Shakti, and Finance.
Both sides held a comprehensive review of the progress achieved in the bilateral relationship, including in the areas of Covid-19 cooperation, trade, connectivity, development partnership, power, energy & water resources, regional and multilateral cooperation as well as border management and security & defense cooperation. The discussion also focussed on preparations for the forthcoming visit of Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi to Dhaka in March 2021 and events relating to the commemoration of the 50th anniversary of diplomatic ties were also discussed.
Both sides noted with appreciation the close cooperation on Covid-19 related issues, including India’s gift of 2 million doses of COVISHIELD vaccines to Bangladesh in keeping with India’s Neighbourhood First Policy.
Underscoring the importance of the year 2021 in the context of the 50th anniversary of the liberation of Bangladesh, the 50th year of bilateral diplomatic ties as well as the birth centenary of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, both sides decided to further strengthen the ongoing coordination to jointly commemorate these anniversaries. In this context, both sides expressed their appreciation for the participation of the Bangladesh tri-service marching contingent at the 2021 Republic Day Parade. Both sides noted the significance of this event in reminding present generations in both countries about the struggle and sacrifices of Indian and Bangladesh forces and peoples during the 1971 Bangladesh Liberation War.
The FOC expressed satisfaction at the intensity of bilateral exchanges, continuing steadily despite COVID-19. The delegations took note of the recent meetings that both sides had after the December 17, 2020 Virtual Summit, namely, 51st BSF – BGB Director General Level Talks in Guwahati on December 22-26, 2020, the Technical Level Meeting of the Joint Rivers Commission on January 06, 2021, the first Police Chiefs’ Dialogue on January 12, 2021 as well as the 19th Secretary-level Joint Steering Committee meeting on power sector cooperation on January 23, 2021. The 2nd India-Bangladesh Consular Dialogue was held on January 28, 2021 in New Delhi. Both sides also agreed to hold the next Home Secretary Level Talks, Commerce Secretary Level Talks and the Secretary Level Meeting of Joint Rivers Commission before the March 2021 Summit.
It was also agreed to maintain the steady momentum of bilateral cooperation and people to people ties. In this regard, both sides noted with satisfaction the renewal of the Air Travel Bubble arrangement that will facilitate essential travel between the two sides.
Both sides noted the importance of swift implementation of the Lines of Credit in the bilateral development partnership. Expressing satisfaction that the high-level development partnership monitoring mechanism was operationalised with its first meeting held on January 03, 2021, both sides stressed the need to increase the utilization of funds and streamlining and expediting approval processes.
Ambassador Masud bin Momen during his stay in New Delhi will visit the Bangabandhu – Bapu Digital Exhibition currently on display at Vigyan Bhawan and will be interacting with Indian Foreign Service Officer Trainees at the Sushma Swaraj Institute of Foreign Service.