India, Bangladesh looking at 'forward-looking engagement': MEA

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New Delhi, Feb 7 (PTI) External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and his Bangladeshi counterpart Hasan Mahmud on Wednesday carried out a comprehensive review of India-Bangladesh ties, especially in areas of cross-border connectivity, defence and security, power, energy, water resources and people-to-people exchanges.

Mahmud is on a four-day visit to India from Tuesday, his first bilateral foreign trip since Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina came to power for a fifth term after a landslide victory in the parliamentary elections last month.

The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said Mahmud's visit enabled both sides to chart out a course of "forward-looking engagement" between the two countries in the new term of the government in Bangladesh.

Following the talks, Jaishankar also hosted a dinner in Mahmud's honour.

"The two ministers reviewed the progress in wide-ranging areas of bilateral relations, including cross-border connectivity, economic and development partnership, cooperation in defence and security, power, energy, water resources and people-to-people exchanges," the MEA said.

It said they also discussed areas of future engagement in line with the national development goals of the two countries, including the visions of "Viksit Bharat 2047" and "Smart Bangladesh 2041".

"The two leaders also exchanged views on regional and multilateral issues of common interest," the MEA said in a statement.

It said Jaishankar and Mahmud expressed commitment to further enhance India-Bangladesh collaboration to promote sub-regional cooperation within the framework of BIMSTEC (Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation), IORA (Indian Ocean Rim Association) and BBIN (Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal) initiative.

"The visit of Foreign Minister of Bangladesh to India is part of the on-going high-level exchanges between the two countries and has enabled both sides to chart out the course of their forward-looking engagement during the new term of the government in Bangladesh," the MEA said.

Mahmud's visit follows a bilateral meeting between the two foreign ministers on the sidelines of the Non-Aligned Movement Summit in Uganda last month.

The MEA said the visit has contributed to further strengthening of the traditional, long-standing friendship and cooperation between the two countries.

Earlier, Mahmud visited Rajghat and paid homage to Mahatma Gandhi. He also held a meeting with National Security Advisor Ajit Doval.

During his stay, Mahmud will also call on President Droupadi Murmu and hold a meeting with Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal.

He will travel to Kolkata on February 9 before concluding his visit. PTI MPB ZMN

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