High Commissioner’s remarks at Sanatan Samaj Kalyan Sangstha (Shubho Mahalaya programme)

Statements & Speeches

High Commissioner’s remarks at Sanatan Samaj Kalyan Sangstha (Shubho Mahalaya programme)

High Commission of India



High Commissioner’s remarks at Sanatan Samaj Kalyan Sangstha (Shubho Mahalaya programme)

(28 September 2019)

Your Excellency, Dr. Hasan Mahmud, Hon’ble Minister for Information,

Shri Sujit Roy Nandi, Member of Central Committee of Awami League,

Agriculturist Shri Shamir Chanda,

Dear devotees,

Namaskar and Shubhoshokaal!

I am delighted to be present amongst you on this very auspicious day of Mahalaya. This is my second stint in Bangladesh and I am glad to be part of Durga Puja celebrations in Bangladesh once again.

2. Mahalaya ushers in Durga Puja and brings almost a month-long period of festivities. Many of us have woken up today with the beautiful rendition of Birendra Krishna Bhadra’s ‘Chandipaath’- it is an inseparable part of our existence and brings a child-like happiness - ‘raat perolei mahalaya’. On the day of Mahalaya, Ma Durga is invited to descend on earth to ward off all evils. I hope that we will all strive to remove all kinds of evils from our society as well as from within ourselves.

3. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina says ‘Dharmo Jar Jar – Utsob Sabar’. I have seen myself all sections of Bangladesh society celebrating each other’s festival together. I would like to thank the government of Bangladesh for making good security arrangements during the festivals of all communities. Bangladesh government’s ‘zero tolerance’ to any kind of extremism and terrorism is important for the country and region’s peace and stability.

4. Under Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s leadership and vision, Bangladesh has witnessed a consistent growth of over 8% over the last few years, with self-sufficiency in food, improvement in road, rail and water connectivity, infrastructure, increase in power supply as well as marked progress in human development indicators particularly with respect to women. As a neighbour and friend, we take pride in your achievements. We have been privileged to be a part of your journey from 1971 till date. Our common struggle for the Liberation War of Bangladesh and great sacrifice in that pursuit will continue to inspire us to work together for the better future of the common people of both countries- we are also fellow travelers on the road to development.

5. In the last few years, close to 90 agreements including in high-tech areas, such as space, IT, electronics, cyber security and civil nuclear energy  have been signed between India and Bangladesh and the Prime Ministers have inaugurated 16 development cooperation projects, including construction of Bhairab and Titas bridges; additional supply of 660 MW electricity, Akhaura-Agartala rail line. Our bilateral trade today stands at close to USD 9 billion. The border-haats, an unique set-up between our countries have made it easier for the people living at the borders to trade with each other. In recognition of the contribution and sacrifices of gallant Muktijoddhas, free treatment in Indian Army hospitals, five year visas and Muktijoddha scholarship has been started.

6. Thus, even at the risk of repetition, I will reiterate what our former External Affairs Minister said in 2017, “Padosi pehle, aur padosi mein Bangladesh sabse pehle”. We have some very important milestones coming soon which we hope to commemorate together in a befitting manner - the birth centenary of Bangabandhu in 2020, the golden jubilee of Bangladesh’s independence in 2021.As our Prime Minister said- our relationship is witnessing a “Sonali Adhyay”. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina was one of the first world leaders to call Shri Narendra Modi to extend her congratulations on the clear mandate given by the people of India. Such gestures reflect the extraordinarily close and cordial ties between India and Bangladesh and the excellent rapport that the two leaders enjoy. As you are aware, the Hon’ble Prime Minister of Bangladesh will visit India shortly- this will provide an opportunity to take the relationship to unprecedented new heights.

7. On this auspicious occasion, I pray to Maa Durga for her divine blessing to bring peace, prosperity, progress and success for people of both the countries. I thank the Sonatan Samaj Kalyan Sangstha once again for inviting me. I wish everyone Shubho saradiya utsab !