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Manmohan congratulates Hasina on assuming office

world Updated: Jan 07, 2009 20:08 IST

IANS
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Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Wednesday congratulated his Bangladeshi counterpart Sheikh Hasina Wajed on assuming office and underlined that India accorded "the highest importance" to strengthening its relations with Bangladesh.


"India attaches the highest importance to its relations with Bangladesh," Manmohan Singh said in his congratulatory message to the 61-year-old leader whose party Awami League won a landslide victory in the December 29 elections.

"Our two countries share close bonds of friendship based on a rich cultural heritage, a common border and regular people-to-people exchanges; all of which make our relationship a multifaceted one," he said.

"I look forward to working closely with Your Excellency to further strengthen and expand this relationship in a manner that responds to the aspirations of our people for a more prosperous and secure future," the prime minister said.

India hopes that the new government of the Awami League and its eight allies, seen as a secular formation in contrast with the previous Khaleda Zia regime that enjoyed support of Islamist parties, will crack down on anti-India insurgents who have for long made that country their base.

The presence in Bangladesh of leaders and key operatives of several militant groups from northeast India has been a thorn in bilateral ties that otherwise improved under the country's army-backed caretaker administration.

External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee is likely to visit Dhaka next week and formally invite Sheikh Hasina to pay an early visit to India.

New Delhi also hopes that the new government of Sheikh Hasina will sign an extradition treaty with India - another long-standing Indian wish.