Bangladesh to bury misunderstandings with India
"Let me declare unequivocally that it is the intention of the current caretaker government to accord high priority to cultivating close relationship with all our neighbours, including India," Foreign Affairs Adviser Iftekhar Ahmed Chowdhury said.
Addressing a three-day meeting of academics, diplomats and journalists from Bangladesh and India yesterday, he said the current government intended to use "the bilateral linkages including cultural affinities and common historical experience for improving ties and burying past misunderstandings that had clouded the commonality of our values".
"It is our intention to use these linkages to build a harmonious relationship between us at present. For future we will continue to mark this relationship with cordiality and cooperation," he said.
Chowdhury said Bangladesh wanted to extend the hand of friendship to all neighbours, big and small.
"Let us co-exist and cooperate among ourselves. Let us optimise our potential. And let us deepen and strengthen the bonds that tie us all," he said.
The foreign adviser added that India being the most blessed in terms of size, population and resources in the region, "a special responsibility would naturally devolve on her".
"I have every confidence that she (India) will not shy way from it, and as she grows, she will help us grow with her," Chowdhury said.
The dialogue suggested a series of measures to promote interactions between the media of the two countries, blaming restrictions on journalists' movement as a major factor responsible for the "suspicions and mistrust" in bilateral ties.
Information Adviser Moinul Hosein on Tuesday opened the interaction saying Dhaka-New Delhi ties remained "trapped in suspicion".
Indian High Commissioner in Dhaka Pinak Ranjan Chakravarty also joined the function that was addressed by co-convenors of the Dialogue, Professor Rehman Sobhan of CPD and former Indian envoy to Bangladesh Deb Mukarji.
"We do have problem in our minds and the only way to remove them is greater interaction, not lesser interactions," Mukarji told the concluding session.
"The good thing, however, is that beyond the knowledge of the governments many good things are happening" contributing to the improved bilateral ties, he said.
CPD and IIC initiated the dialogue in 1995 as part of "Track II diplomacy". Major causes of constraints in bilateral ties like water sharing in common rivers, transit, population movement, trade imbalance and border issues were discussed in the previous dialogues.