India's ruling BJP and main opposition Congress party have assured Bangladesh of India's cooperation for early repatriation of the Rohingya refugees who fled Myanmar's brutal military crackdown in August 2017 and are now living in Cox's Bazar refugee camps.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and former prime minister Manmohan Singh gave the assurance when visiting Bangladesh Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen called on both of them separately in New Delhi yesterday.
While thanking Modi for India's humanitarian assistance to Rohingyas, Momen requested India's support for the early repatriation of the Rohingyas to the Rakhine State of Myanmar.
“Prime Minister Modi reiterated that India is always with Bangladesh and assured India's cooperation in this regard,” said a press release by Bangladesh High Commission in New Delhi.
Manmohan Singh at a meeting with Momen noted that early repatriation of Rohingyas is a priority and assured that they will be supporting the government of India in any initiative to expedite the repatriation of Rohingyas to Rakhine State.
There was no mention in the high commission press release on whether the Bangladesh Foreign Minister discussed the much awaited issue on sharing the water of Teesta river which has been pending since 2011. During Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's visit to India in April 2017, Modi assured the inking of the Teesta deal during their tenure.
However, the high commission said that Manmohan hoped that both countries would be able to resolve the remaining outstanding issues between the two countries including the Teesta river issue.
Momen, the first senior Bangladeshi minister travelling to India since the Awami League returned to power for the third consecutive terms, reached Delhi on Thursday night and will co-chair the 5th India-Bangladesh Joint Consultative Commission meeting with his Indian counterpart Sushma Swaraj this morning.
During the call on the Indian PM at his official residence Lok Kalyan Marg, Modi mentioned that the partnership between Bangladesh and India was “flourishing under the visionary leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.”
The Bangladesh High Commission press release said Modi reaffirmed India's sincere commitment to Bangladesh's prosperity and development and said that the Bangladesh-India relation is a “model between two neighbouring countries which needs to be showcased for a wider audience around the world.”
In a separate statement from the Indian Prime Minister's Office, Modi said that the India-Bangladesh relations had been on an upward trajectory in the last few years. He reaffirmed India's commitment to work with Bangladesh to build on this momentum during Hasina's new term in office.
Momen conveyed Sheikh Hasina's appreciation to Modi for being the first foreign leader to extend congratulations upon the Awami League's victory in the December 30 parliamentary election.
Momen expressed his satisfaction on the excellent bilateral relations that exist between the two countries which has grown and prospered, especially with the statesmanship of both the countries' prime ministers.
He emphasised that Bangladesh would continue its resolve in further strengthening and deepening the relationship with India in the coming days. Momen also mentioned the remarkable progress Bangladesh has achieved over the last few years in the socio-economic sectors and elaborated on the road map of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to realise the dreams of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman to build a “Sonar Bangla”.
Our New Delhi correspondent reported that the Indian External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar in a Twitter post described the Modi-Momen meeting as “Sonali Adhyay” (a golden chapter) in the India-Bangladesh relations.
Apart from meeting Manmohan Singh, Momen also met Deputy Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Dr Anand Sharma. Momen conveyed PM Sheikh Hasina's greetings to Manmohan Singh, who also conveyed his congratulations to Hasina for being elected as the prime minister for the third time.