Bangladesh Foreign Minister says looking for increased cooperation with India

Silchar, Dec 3 (PTI) Bangladesh Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen has said that his country was exploring ways to increase cooperation with India, which it views as the biggest partner in South Asia.
He also emphasised the crucial role the Northeastern region of India has in bilateral ties between the two countries.
Speaking at the inauguration of the first Sylhet-Silchar Festival here on Friday, Momen said that Bangladesh views India as its biggest partner in South Asia and both countries are interrelated in numerous ways, from economic to cultural.
He said that Bangladesh is interested in increasing cooperation with India and has also entrusted its think tanks to devise measures to ensure it.
Noting that anti-India terror organisations have been routed out from its soil due to his country’s commitment towards its neighbour, Momen said, “Our prime minister Sheikh Hasina has affirmed that Bangladesh will not be allowed to be used as a terrorism hub.”
The minister said that Hasina had placed before New Delhi during her September visit Bangladesh’s willingness to help in the growth of the Northeast region.
He maintained that Bangladesh has already allowed India access to its ports for ferrying goods, and it also wants more improved road, rail and air connectivity.
He also harped on the importance and need for greater people-to-people connect as he recalled his personal connections with Assam.
Union Minister for Culture, Tourism and Department of North Eastern Region (DONER) G Kishan Reddy, who was also present at the inaugural ceremony, spoke on the ancient ties that southern Assam shares with present-day Bangladesh.
He said that the relations became more firm after 2014 with Narendra Modi becoming the prime minister of India, and the two prime ministers of the neighbouring countries meeting 13 times since then.
He claimed that it was a record in terms of the number of meetings and is also indicative of the importance both countries laid on strengthening bilateral ties.
On the significance of the Northeast in these bilateral ties, Reddy said the development of the region would ensure greater cooperation with Bangladesh.
The two-day festival is being organised by India Foundation under the aegis of the Union Ministry of Culture, in association with the Bangladesh Foundation for Regional Studies.