New Delhi [India], January 29 (ANI): India and Bangladesh reviewed the progress in bilateral relations during Foreign Office Consultations between the two countries here on Friday and discussed forthcoming visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Dhaka in March this year and events relating to the commemoration of the 50th anniversary of diplomatic ties.
Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla led the Indian side during Foreign Office Consultations (FOC) and the meeting was co-chaired by his counterpart Masud Bin Momen.
A Ministry of External Affairs release said that 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 and water resources, regional and multilateral cooperation as well as border management and security and defence cooperation.
"The discussion also focused on preparations for the forthcoming visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Dhaka in March 2021 and events relating to the commemoration of the 50th anniversary of diplomatic ties were also discussed," the release said.
Both sides 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.
The release said 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 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.
They expressed their appreciation for the participation of the Bangladesh tri-service marching contingent at the 2021 Republic Day Parade and 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 two sides expressed satisfaction at the intensity of bilateral exchanges continuing steadily despite COVID-19.
The delegations took note of recent meetings that both sides had after the virtual summit last month - 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 6, first Police Chiefs' Dialogue on January 12 and the 19th secretary-level Joint Steering Committee meeting on power sector cooperation on January 23.
The 2nd India-Bangladesh Consular Dialogue was held on January 28.
Noting that the high-level development partnership monitoring mechanism was operationalised with its first meeting held on January 3, 2021, both sides stressed the need to increase the utilization of funds and streamlining and expediting approval processes.
The two sides also agreed to maintain the steady momentum of bilateral cooperation and people to people ties and noted with satisfaction the renewal of the air travel bubble arrangement that will facilitate essential travel between the two sides.
They noted the importance of swift implementation of the Lines of Credit in the bilateral development partnership.
The Bangladesh Foreign Secretary was accompanied by Bangladesh High Commissioner 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.
The release said Bangladesh Foreign Secretary during his stay in New Delhi will visit the Bangabandhu-Bapu Digital Exhibition, currently on display at Vigyan Bhawan, and will interact with Indian Foreign Service Officer Trainees at the Sushma Swaraj Institute of Foreign Service. (ANI)