Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Bangladesh counterpart Sheikh Hasina held a virtual meet on Thursday and jointly inaugurated the Chilahati-Haldibari rail link between India and Bangladesh
During the virtual meet, PM Modi said that ever since taking office, it has been his priority to strengthen and deepen the relationship between India and Bangladesh and pointed out that the nation is a significant pillar of our 'Neighbourhood First' policy.
"Bangladesh is a significant pillar of our 'Neighbourhood First' policy. To strengthen and deepen our relations with Bangladesh has been a priority for me since the first day. It is true that because of the pandemic, this year has been challenging but in these challenging times, the relations between the two countries, have seen immense cooperation," PM Modi said at a virtual summit with Prime Minister of Bangladesh Sheikh Hasina.
The summit is being held a day after Vijay Diwas, marking India's victory over Pakistan in the 1971 war that led to the creation of Bangladesh.
"It is an honour for us to celebrate Bangladesh's victory against the anti-liberation forces with you. When Bangladesh is celebrating 50 years of Independence, I would want to pay tribute to the martyrs of both nations, who sacrificed their lives," PM Modi added.
PM Modi also thanked the Bangladeshi Prime Minister for inviting him for a visit to the nation next year where he said that "it would be an honour" to pay tribute "to the martyrs".
Bangladesh PM Sheikh Hasina, meanwhile, said that India is Bangladesh's true friend as she expressed her gratitude to the country and the Indian Army for their support during the 1971 liberation war. She said that she is happy to meet him again, particularly on this month of victory.
“I pay deep homage to the three million martyrs who laid down their lives. I pay tribute to the members of the Indian armed forces martyred in the war and to their families. I pay my gratitude to the government and the people of India who extended their whole hearted support for the cause of our nation,” she said.
India and Bangladesh have continued to maintain regular exchanges at the highest level with Bangladesh Prime Minister paying an official visit to India in October 2019.
India and Bangladesh have been making efforts to enhance transport and connectivity. The leadership on both sides has been committed to reviving and operationalising the six pre-1965 rail links between India and Bangladesh.
With the inauguration of the Haldibari-Chilahati rail link, five out of six rail links are currently operational. The other four operational rail links connecting West Bengal with Bangladesh are Petrapole (India) - Benapole (Bangladesh), Gede (India) - Darshana (Bangladesh), Singhabad (India)-Rohanpur (Bangladesh) and Radhikapur (India)-Birol (Bangladesh).
(Inputs from ANI)