Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla

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Indo-Bangladesh relations 'special' and 'unique': Foreign Secretary

India-Bangladesh history, language, spirituality and culture are intertwined: Harsh Vardhan Shringla

Dhaka:

Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla said on Wednesday that the relationship between India and Bangladesh was “special” and “unique” and that New Delhi did not compare Dhaka’s relations with any other country, adding that he sought to underestimate China’s growing efforts in this country.

Speaking to reporters on President Ramnath Govind’s first state visit to Bangladesh and his talks with top leaders, Mr Shringla said, “For us, India and Bangladesh are bound by history, language, spirituality and culture. “

Asked about India’s views on China’s growing influence in South Asian countries, including Bangladesh, he told reporters, “Our relations are unique and our relations with other countries are not comparable.”

India does not see what relations it has with other countries while celebrating the “uniqueness” of its “special relationship” with Bangladesh, he said on a day when President Govind held wide-ranging talks with his Bangladeshi Prime Minister M Abdul Hamid.

Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and Foreign Minister A.K. Abdul Moman met President Govinda separately and exchanged views on how the two countries can enhance their cooperation for bilateral relations and mutual benefit.

Asked what India’s response would be if Dhaka decided to join the Quarter Defense Forum (QUAD), a strategic platform for the US, India, Japan and Australia, Mr Shringla said, “This is a sovereign decision for Bangladesh.” You can comment on it.

“But the Quad is by nature a partnership with other countries and Bangladesh is a key partner in that partnership,” he said.

He said the idea behind the quartet was to work with countries in the region and provide them with the means to “achieve our common vision of the Indo-Pacific region as open, independent, transparent and inclusive.”

The four countries formed the Quad Group amid China’s aggressive moves in the Indo Pacific region of strategic importance.

Responding to a question on the Rohingya issue, Mr Shringla said India was the only country that shared a common land border with both Bangladesh and Myanmar.

“We believe that all three countries have the capacity to deal with our problems and that this issue (the Rohingya) will have an impact on all of us, the region and beyond.

“We have always called for the stable and speedy return of displaced people from Rakhine State in Myanmar. We have always been working with Bangladesh and Myanmar to resolve this issue,” he said.

He recalled the development work being carried out by India through the Rakhine State Development Program in Rakhine State, which is considered the homeland of the Rohingya community.

The Myanmar military’s campaign against the Rohingya forced members of the community, mostly Muslims, to flee to Bangladesh and live in refugee camps in the country. One of the main objectives of India’s development work in Rakhine is to create hospitable conditions for the return of the Rohingya community.

Responding to a question on US sanctions on Bangladeshi security officials, Mr Shringla said, “India and Bangladesh are bilaterally agreeing with each other on a bilateral basis.

“We do not see our relationship in the (a) Third Country Prison, so we do not wish to comment on anything involving any third country at this time,” he added.

Washington has imposed sanctions on seven former and current top officials of Bangladesh’s Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) over allegations of large-scale human rights abuses. The RAB is the highest crime and counter-terrorism unit of the country’s police force.

Authorized officers include the current Inspector General of Police and former Director General of the RAB, Benazir Ahmed. Current RAB Director General Chaudhry Abdullah al-Mamun is subject to the same restrictions. All of them have been banned from going to the United States.

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