Embassies of India and Bangladesh marked 50 years of friendship with a special 'Maitree Divas' celebration Monday in the presence of a galaxy of dignitaries from various walks of life. India was one of the first countries to recognise Bangladesh on December 6, 1971.
Yousef Sultan Larem, director of the Department of Asian Affairs, Qatar's Ministry of Foreign Affairs was the guest of honour on the occasion. Apart from Indian ambassador Dr Deepak Mittal and Bangladesh ambassador Mohamed Jashim Uddin, many Qatari officials, a number of ambassadors, members of the diplomatic corps from various missions in Qatar were present at the event.
A cultural programme
Pointing out that the prime ministers of both countries had decided to celebrate the occasion as Maitree Divas, ambassador Dr Mittal said: “The bonds between India and Bangladesh have been forged in blood, replenished by shared history, culture and vibrant people-to-people ties. We cherish and proudly celebrate our common social-cultural-linguistic heritage."
Many dignitaries attended the event
“Bengal was also the seat for the Indian renaissance that gave us icons like Rabindranath Tagore, Kazi Nazrul Islam, Bankim Chandra. The fact that Rabindranath Tagore wrote the national anthem of both India and Bangladesh is a testament to our deep knowledge,” continued the Indian envoy.
Recalling the historical circumstances that led to the birth of Bangladesh and India welcoming close to 10 million refugees from East Bengal - currently Bangladesh - Dr Mittal noted: “India and Bangladesh today share comprehensive ties with co-operation in areas of security, trade, energy and education and innovation. The co-operation paradigm has expanded to themes like connectivity, sustainable development and blue economy.”
Some of the dignitaries at the event
Bangladesh ambassador Jashim Uddin remarked: “A friend in need is a friend indeed. We needed a friend at the most critical juncture of our history. In our neighbour, India, we found that friend and this is a celebration of that friendship, the Maitree between our two countries. We deeply appreciate with gratitude the unwavering support and cooperation extended to Bangladesh during our nine-month long struggle for independence in 1971.”
He noted that Bangladesh is in the process of erecting a war memorial in Ashuganj, Bangladesh, in memory of the martyred Indian soldiers and nationals. The foundation stone laying ceremony of the monument was jointly inaugurated by the prime ministers of India and Bangladesh in March 2021 virtually.
A music programme at the event
The Bangladesh envoy highlighted that in the recent years, Bangladesh and India have scripted a golden chapter of bilateral ties and given new dimension and direction to their partnership.
“Bangladesh-India bilateral relations are rooted in shared history and geographical proximity. Over the last decade, both the countries have witnessed remarkable progress on cooperation in a large number of areas including security, power, trade and commerce, energy, connectivity, infrastructure development, culture, people-to-people contact, and health etc. Cooperation in new areas such as space, IT, cyber security, solar power, nuclear energy etc. is also being pursued,” he explained.
According to Jashim Uddin, Bangladesh has made remarkable strides in socio economic development enabling the country to transition from low income country to achieve the status of lower middle income country in 2015.
“The country is on track to leave the United Nations list of least developed countries. Bangladesh is now considered one of the fastest growing economies in the world. The Bangladesh government's vision 2041 stipulates to eliminate extreme poverty and secure upper middle-income country status by 2031 and achieve the high income country status by 2041,” he added.
Community leaders of both the countries as well as several other invitees also took part in the ceremony. A cake was cut to celebrate the occasion. Several cultural programmes were presented by both communities.