October 5-6, 2023
The 11th India-Bangladesh Friendship Dialoguewas held in Sylhet, Bangladesh from05-06 October 2023 at Hotel Grand Sylhet. It was organized by India Foundationin partnership with the Bangladesh Foundation for Regional Studies, supported by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Bangladesh coordinated by the Friend’s of Bangladesh. In the past decade the Track 1.5 Bangladesh-India Friendship Dialoguehas emerged as one of the core platforms for fostering strong bilateral relations between the two neighbouring countries.
The Inaugural Session of the Bilateral was graced by H.E. Dr. Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury, Honourable Speaker of Bangladesh Parliament; H.E.Dr. A.K. Abdul Momen MP, Hon’ble Minister for Foreign Affairs, Bangladesh; H.E. Mr. Pranay Verma, Hon’ble High Commissioner of India to Bangladesh; Mr. Vincent Pala, Member of Parliament, India; Mr. Jahangir Kabir Nanak, Former Minister, Presidium Member Awami League; Mr. Swapan Dasgupta, Former Member of Parliament and Member, Governing Council, India Foundation. The dignitaries emphasised upon the importance of Bilateral ties between the two countries and shared their remarks on the contributions and success of the previous rounds of this Dialogue.
The first working session of the Bilateral Dialogue on ‘Fostering a Comprehensive and Mutually Beneficial Partnership’ was chaired by H.E. Amb Tariq A. Karim, Former Ambassador of Bangladesh to India. It was addressed by Capt. Alok Bansal Director, India Foundation; Adv Tarana Halim, Former State Minister, Bangladesh; Mr. AB Mathur Former Member, National Security Advisory Board, India; Prof. Sreeradha Dutta OP Jindal Global University, New Delhi, India. The speakers discussed the historic ties that bind India and Bangladesh quoting the Hon’ble FM of Bangladesh hailing them as ‘blood ties’ in reference to the War of 1971.
This was followed by cultural performances by dance and music troops from both India and Bangladesh which showcased the shared cultural ties between the two countries. Local artists also performed the traditional art forms of the region of Sylhet, Bangladesh.
The second working session of the dialogueheld on 06 October was on the theme ‘Connectivity for Trade and People-to-People Connections’ and was chaired by Mr. Vincent Pala, Member of Parliament & Former Minister, India. The speakers of this session were Prof Sadeka Halim, Professor & Chairperson, Department of Sociology, DhakaUniversity; Mr. Swapan Dasgupta, Former Member of Parliament, India; Mr. Tanvir Shakil Joy, Member of Parliament & Member, Parliament Standing Committee forEnvironment and Climate Change; Mr. Guru Prakash, National Spokesperson, BJP; Prof. Delwar Hossain, Member, Bangladesh Public Service Commission; and Ms. Rami Desai, Distinguished Fellow, India Foundation. The discussants emphasised on the mutual trust and understanding between the two countries and its reflection in their trade relationship. They highlighted the need to connect the youth of the two countries to ensure greater goodwill among the people.
The third working session was chaired by Mr. Mohibul Hassan Chowdhoury, Hon’ble Deputy Minister, Ministry of Education, Bangladesh.The subject of discussion was ‘Technology Collaboration and Innovation’ and the speakers included Mr. Joydeep Gupta, Director, BMG Informatics; Mr. Russell T. Ahmed, President, BASIS; Dr.Sanjay Bhardwaj, Professor, JNU, India; Dr. Muntasir Mamun DG (ICT), Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Bangladesh; andDr.Smruti Pattanaik, Research Fellow, MP-IDSA, India. The speakers discussed the growth of technology in the two nations and the new opportunities and avenues they open for development.
The final working session on ‘Investment for Sustainable and Inclusive Growth’ was chaired by Mr. Shaurya Doval, Member, Governing Council, India Foundation and was addressed by Mr. Nahim Razzaq, Member of Parliament, Member, Parliamentary Standing Committee on Ministryof Foreign Affairs; Mr. PVSLN Murthy, Chairman & Managing Director, NEDFi, Member, Board of Governors, India Foundation; Ms. Waseqa Ayesha Khan, Member of Parliament & Chairman, Parliamentary Standing Committee onMinistry of Power, Energy and Mineral Resources; Ms. Manjeet Kripalani Executive Director, Gateway House, India; Dr.Shammi Ahmed, International Affairs Secretary, Bangladesh Awami League; and Dr Shristi Pukhrem, Senior Research Fellow, India Foundation. The speakers talked about the long-standing trade and investment relations between India and Bangladesh and the growth of their economies in the past decade with immense future potential.
The 11th India-Bangladesh Friendship Dialogue concluded with a Valedictory Session graced by H.E. Dr. Rajkumar Ranjan Singh, Minister of State for External Affairs &Education, India; H.E. Dr. A. K. Abdul Momen, M.P.Hon’ble Foreign Minister, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Bangladesh; Mr. A.T.M. Rokebul Haque, Director General (SA), Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Bangladesh; Mr. Jishnu Deb Barman, Former Deputy Chief Minister, Tripura, India; H.E. Mr. Pranay Verma, Hon’ble High Commissioner of India to Bangladesh; Mr. Mohibul Hassan Chowdhoury, Hon’ble Deputy Minister, Ministry of Education; and Capt. Alok Bansal, Director, India Foundation.
The session was followed by a Cultural Session and a Dinner hosted by H.E. Dr. A. K. Abdul Momen, M.P.Hon’ble Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Bangladesh.