New Delhi: Allaying concerns in India over the increasing Chinese presence in Bangladesh, Speaker of Bangladesh Parliament Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury said that this should be the least cause of worry as both India and Bangladesh share a special and unparalleled relationship.
“Bangladesh and India are neighbors and friends and we believe that discussions, negotiations, dialogue are the ways through which any issue can be resolved. We enjoy a very good relationship, very good friendship and we think it will grow stronger in the coming days,” Chaudhury told ANI during her one-day visit to New Delhi.
“We just celebrated our Independence Day on March 26 and we very fondly remembered and recognized the support that India, its people, and its government gave to us. This friendship is from the days of the Liberation War so it has grown from strength to strength. And the regional cooperation aspect is very much at the forefront now. There are many issues in the world that one country cannot meet. So we can come in together in different sectors like trade, commerce, power generation, energy and see what the prospects are and how we can link more with the stronger points of both countries. This constructive and fruitful partnership is the dimension of the relationship that is gaining a lot of importance. We are already reaping the benefit of it. So we want this to be a win-win situation for the people of both the countries,” she said.
Chaudhury hoped for more support from India as Bangladesh works towards achieving the status of a `Developing Country’ by 2024.
“The economy of Bangladesh is moving ahead in an indomitable pace. We have now attained 8 percent GDP growth and it has been a continuous 7 percent over the last decade and we have been able to half the poverty from 40 percent to 22 percent. We have ensured food security, woman empowerment, and all these issues. The economic and social indicators are very positive. The agenda is, of course, the vision 2021 given by our Prime Minister Sheikh Haseena in 2008. Now 2021 is very close.
We are aspiring to become a middle-income economy by 2021,” she said.
Talking about the challenges before the government of Bangladesh following the elections, Chaudhury said that the Sheikh Haseena dispensation is working hard to meet the aspirations of the people and take the nation to a `Developed Country’ status by 2041.
“This time we had an inclusive election and there was active participation from the people of Bangladesh. The 11th Parliament started its journey from 30th January and it is the landmark in the continuity of functioning of parliamentary democracy in Bangladesh. The 9th, 10th, and 11th Parliaments coming through the elections and no interruptions in between is a great achievement. Bangladesh has already graduated out of its Least Developed Country status and we are now moving towards the Developing Country status by 2024 and by 2041 a Developed Country,” she said.
“2020 is also a special time for us as that is the celebration of 100th birth anniversary year of Father of the Nation Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. We have declared 2020 as Mujib varsho (year of Mujib) and throughout this year we will have many different celebrations to mark his 100th birthday. 2021 is, of course, our 50th year of Independence so that is also a landmark year for us.
So the whole programme is to reduce poverty, inequality, ensure the quality of life of the poor and Bangladesh Awami League gave an election manifesto where the demographic dividend of the young generation is an important priority. Creating more employment opportunities, allowing the young force to have a different kind of skill development training, improving education, health systems — all these are priority areas,” Chaudhury added.