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  • Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is visiting neighbouring Bangladesh as the country marks 50 years of its independence.

  • Modi's visit to India's biggest trade partner in South Asia comes as both nations look to strengthen ties that had been under strain in recent years.

  • His visit to Bangladesh is also highly symbolic given the part Indian forces played in securing the country's freedom December 1971.

  • Indian and Pakistani troops are locked in a bitter battle to liberate DACA, the then capital of east Pakistan.

  • Winning it would all but ensure an independent state for the Bengalis.

  • Bangladesh at the time was known as East Pakistan on the eastern flank of India.

  • It along with west Pakistan from the nation of Pakistan but led by this man, Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.

  • East Pakistan's Bengalis, feeling alienated and abused, revolted against their government.

  • Mhm a brutal military crackdown ensued really soon into his hand was forced and it intervened militarily.

  • Pakistan lost the war and with it the state of Bangladesh was born mhm with human as its first president.

  • Yeah, and in a bloody conflict that cost an estimated three million lives according to government figures and displaced more than 10 times as many.

  • Since then, Bangladesh has seen political assassinations and coups.

  • Throughout much of the eighties, the country was run by the military.

  • By the 19 nineties, democracy had returned and in the 50 years since Bangladesh gained its independence, its earned praise for turning its war torn beginnings into a hopeful future for its young population.

  • Shafqat Munir is a research fellow at the Bangladesh Institute of Peace and Security Studies, and he joins me now from Dhaka with more Shafqat welcome and happy Independence Day.

  • I know it's a big question to ask, but I'll ask it anyway on the 50th year of independence to most Bangladeshis feel hopeful about their future in the country.

  • Thank you very much.

  • It's a pleasure to be here.

  • Indeed, most Bangladeshis not only feel hopeful, but they feel very optimistic about the future.

  • We have traversed a lot of ground in the last half a century.

  • Our economic indicators, our social indicators are absolutely marvelous and the last, uh decade and a half has seen Bangladesh on a very impressive economic growth trajectory.

  • Of course, we have also a plethora of challenges ahead of us as well and how we navigate the Covid 19 pandemic and its aftermath is one of those many challenges that we face.

  • But overall, the people of Bangladesh, especially the youth, feel a deep sense of optimism about the next 50 years.

  • Where does India fit into that picture over the next 50 years?

  • Given the historical connections between the two countries, you're right.

  • India and Bangladesh share a very historically a very close relationship.

  • India was a very pivotal partner in Bangladesh's independence struggle and, uh, the two countries share one of the longest land borders in the world.

  • There are also civilisational and historical and cultural ties.

  • Uh, Bangladesh wants to grow and deepen its relationship with India.

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi has arrived in town today for a visit, which also coincides with the 100th anniversary of the birth of the Father of the nation, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and the 50th anniversary of Bangladesh's independence.

  • There are many areas where India and Bangladesh can work together to further deepen the relationship, but there also needs to be a very realistic take on the relationship and also address some of the challenges.

  • One of the hopes that we have from the visit is that there would be a further deepening of ties in terms of connectivity, deepening economic and cultural engagement and also, uh, realistic take on addressing some of the challenges that Bangladesh and India face in the relationship in the in the near term.

  • They were given, uh, the exchange of vaccines, or rather, the delivery of covid 19 vaccines, for example, from India to Bangladesh.

  • Does that provide some sort of, uh, template of relations moving forward?

  • The covid 19, uh, vaccine engagement is indeed, uh, some quite encouraging.

  • Bangladesh is getting the vaccines from India, And we hope, uh, that, uh, this would be a good template for taking the relationship forward and engagement in terms of, uh, combating the pandemic and other nontraditional security challenges as well.

  • Uh, yes.

  • So we are hopeful about that.

  • We hope that the vaccine diplomacy will play a role in strengthening the relationship.

  • Yeah.

  • Are there any specific expectations that Bangladesh has from Narendra Modi's visit this time around?

  • One of the expectations is, as I said earlier, uh, deepening of the connectivity and the economic ties and also, uh, some resolution on some of the outstanding issues like the Teesta water, which has caused some friction in the relationship in the past.

  • But we are hopeful.

  • I mean, like all, uh, neighbors and friends, there are, uh, sometimes challenges in the relationship.

  • But the two countries have reached a stage where in a very mature manner and through bilateral engagement and other efforts, they can address all the challenges and move forward.

  • But we are quite hopeful from the visit that in addition to strengthening the goodwill, some tangible outcomes will also come out of it.

  • And hopefully that happens.

  • We'll leave it there for the time being.

  • Thank you so much for speaking to us.

  • Chef Got money from the Bangladesh Institute of Peace and Security Studies in Taka.

  • Thank you so much.

  • Thank you.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is visiting neighbouring Bangladesh as the country marks 50 years of its independence.

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India PM Modi in Bangladesh to mark 50 years of independence | DW News

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    林宜悉 posted on 2021/03/27
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