Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi assured his Bangladeshi counterpart Sheikh Hasina that New Delhi would always stand by Dhaka and its relationship with Bangladesh was the most important in the South Asian region.
“Modi expressed interest in working with all South Asian countries to strengthen cooperation and ensure development in the region. Hasina also assured him of working with India in this regard,” Foreign Minister AH Mahmood Ali told a press briefing at his ministry yesterday.
Hasina visited New York from September 22 to 28 to attend the 69th session of the UN General Assembly and met Modi on the sidelines on September 27.
“The prime minister raised the pending issues of Teesta water sharing agreement and the ratification of land boundary agreement and urged early resolution of these issues,” Mahmood said.
In reply, Modi said his government was actively and sincerely working on the issues, he added.
The minister said the Modi government would follow the same procedure that its predecessor, Manmohan Singh, had followed.
“Why the Modi government would find a new way?” he questioned.
The constitution amendment bill was placed by the Congress-led government in the Rajya Sabha and the parliamentary standing committee, which had been reconstituted recently, would submit its report, he said.
About Hasina’s use of Hindi at the meeting with Modi, the foreign minister said it was not important what language was used rather the outcome was important. “English interpreter was there. Whether they discussed in Hindi or not is not important issue,” he said.
About Modi’s visit to Dhaka, he said the issue was discussed in the meeting.
“The prime minister had invited him to visit Bangladesh as soon as possible. He also said he wanted to come. Now we have to fix a date. We want him to visit as early as possible,” Mahmood added.
The foreign minister said UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon congratulated the prime minister for maintaining peace and stability in the country after the January 5 election.
“He did not utter a single a word about the January 5 election. Even his statement did not mention anything about holding of an interim election,” he said.
On the occasion of 40th anniversary of Bangladesh’s joining the UN, Ban sent the statement on September 17 which was published in a booklet of the Foreign Ministry. In the statement, the UN chief also urged dialogue to resolve political standoff.
When asked about Bangladesh’s position on Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant [ISIL] and Syrian crisis, Mahmood said: “We have not heard about any presence of [ISIL] group, but a British citizen of Bangladeshi origin was arrested.”
The UNSC on September 24 adopted a resolution on foreign fighters and financing related to ISIL which is binding all countries and Bangladesh would abide by it, Mahmood said. When asked, the minister said the question of military intervention had not arisen so far.
A coalition of over 50 countries, including the USA, the UK, France, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Qatar, Bahrain and Kuwait joined hands and engaged in military intervention against ISIL in Iraq and Syria.