New Delhi : India on Friday said it attached highest importance to bilateral relations with Bangladesh and that there is a “wish” and “will” to strengthen this.

An assurance in this regard was conveyed by the top Indian leadership during talks with the visiting Bangladesh President Abdul Hamid, as the two countries discussed ways to forge closer cooperation, particularly to step up economic engagement and improving connectivity.

At the meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Hamid, both leaders agreed that India and Bangladesh should take the lead in ensuring closer cooperation in the region.

President Pranab Mukherjee while welcoming his Bangladesh counterpart assured him that India attaches the highest importance to bilateral relations with the country, a close friend and neighbour, as India always believed that a strong, stable and prosperous Bangladesh is in its interest.

Mukherjee also handed over to Hamid a ‘historic audio-visual gift’ comprising news clips of All India Radio and Doordarshan during 1971 liberation of Bangladesh.

He said it is greatly satisfying for India to see Bangladesh showing a high growth economy with a promising future.

“It is heartening to see the impressive strides made by Bangladesh on human development, healthcare, education, women’s empowerment and other socio-economic fronts,” the President was quoted as saying in an official release.

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj also called on Hamid and conveyed to him that there was “wish” and “will” on the part of the new government in India to stregthen bilateral ties with Bangladesh.

“Wish is there & will is there to strengthen our bilateral ties – Minister @SushmaSwaraj to Bangladesh’s President,” External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin tweeted.

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