‘People-centric partnership’: PM Modi congratulates Sheikh Hasina on re-election | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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‘People-centric partnership’: PM Modi congratulates Sheikh Hasina on re-election

Jan 08, 2024 09:43 PM IST

In her first news conference following the election victory, Sheikh Hasina emphasised the strong bond between Bangladesh and India

NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday congratulated his Bangladeshi counterpart Sheikh Hasina on her election victory, saying India is committed to strengthening its “people-centric partnership with Bangladesh”.

Sheikh Hasina, the newly elected Prime Minister of Bangladesh and Chairperson of Bangladesh Awami League, gestures during a meeting with foreign observers and journalists at the Prime Minister's residence in Dhaka (REUTERS)
Sheikh Hasina, the newly elected Prime Minister of Bangladesh and Chairperson of Bangladesh Awami League, gestures during a meeting with foreign observers and journalists at the Prime Minister's residence in Dhaka (REUTERS)

The win in Sunday’s election, which saw a turnout of only 40%, set up a fifth overall term for the 76-year-old leader who has ruled Bangladesh since 2009. The election was largely seen as one-sided following a boycott by the main opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP).

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The external affairs ministry said Modi spoke to Hasina and congratulated her on her victory in the parliamentary election for a “historic fourth consecutive term”.

“I also congratulate the people of Bangladesh for the successful conduct of elections. We are committed to further strengthen our enduring and people-centric partnership with Bangladesh,” Modi said in a post on X.

Earlier, Indian high commissioner Pranay Verma became the first envoy to meet Hasina in Dhaka following her victory. Verma congratulated her and conveyed Modi’s greetings. People familiar with the matter said Verma expressed the hope that there will be greater momentum in the India-Bangladesh partnership during the new term of the Awami League government.

India will continue to support the Bangladeshi people to realise the vision of a stable, progressive and prosperous nation, Verma said.

In her first news conference following the election victory, Hasina emphasised the strong bond between Bangladesh and India.

“India is a great friend of Bangladesh. They supported us in 1971 and 1975. We consider India our next-door neighbour. I really appreciate that we have a wonderful relationship with India,” she said, referring to India’s assistance during the liberation war of 1971 and after the assassination of her father, Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, and most members of his family in 1975.

Hasina also highlighted the enduring friendship between the two sides and reiterated India’s importance as a key ally.

“In the next five years, our main focus will be on economic progress and fulfilling all the work that we have started...The development of the people and our country is our main aim,” Hasina said.

The Awami League won 222 of the 300 parliamentary seats for which elections were held, while the opposition Jatiya Party won just 11 seats.

Independent candidates, many of them members of the Awami League who were denied tickets, won a total of 63 seats.

India and China were among the few countries that didn’t criticise the election process. Several Western countries, including the US, and rights groups had expressed reservations about the election being free and fair.

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