Foreign Minister Dr. A.K. Abdul Momen M.P, emphasized that sustainable, collaborative and meaningful cooperation are the keys to healthy rivers and efficient riverine cooperation. Dr. Momen made this statement while delivering special address at the inaugural session of the two-day long NADI-3 (Natural Allies in Development and Interdependence) Conference that began today in Guwahati, Assam.
External Affairs Minister of India Dr. S. Jaishankar and Chief Minister of Assam Dr. Himanta Biswa Sarma also spoke at the inaugural session.
In his statement Dr. Momen stressed that rivers are the lifeline of Bangladesh and have influenced the traditions, culture, music, lifestyle and livelihood of the people of Bangladesh. He emphasized that just sharing of waters of transboundary rivers and basin wide river management is essential for sustainability of rivers. He stressed on the need to maintain healthy rivers to facilitate waterways connectivity. He underscored that the Protocol on Inland Water Transit and Trade (PIWT&T) which is one of the earliest instruments concluded between Bangladesh and India in 1972 is significantly contributing to bilateral trade between the two countries. Dr. Momen also mentioned that the agreement on the use of Chattogram and Mongla ports for the movements of goods to and from India is another milestone of friendly relations between the two countries.
Dr. Momen also stated that by taking the advantage of its unique geographical location in the region, Bangladesh is offering itself as a gateway to landlocked Nepal, Bhutan and the north-eastern states of India and thus is promoting regional connectivity and integration as the key to collective and inclusive development.
During the Conference, the dignitaries including the Chief Minister of Assam and the envoy of Singapore to India commended the action taken by the Prime Minister of Bangladesh Sheikh Hasina and her Government for exerting “zero tolerance” towards terrorism and insurgency which ultimately paved the way in establishing peace and stability of the entire South Asian region.
Later he met the Governor of Assam Prof. Jagdish Mukhi at Raj Bhaban when they discussed the issues of mutual interest. Both the dignitaries agreed that the relationship between Bangladesh and Assam is deeply rooted in the history and expressed satisfaction on the existing friendly ties.
Dr. Momen underscored the need to strengthen the age-old bond between the peoples of Bangladesh and Assam. He emphasized on promoting trade and business, people to people contact and tourism by taking advantage of the many shared commonalities. He also underscored the necessity of establishing air and road connectivity to enhance the people to people contact Bangladesh and north-eastern region. Foreign Minister also requested to establish an Foreign Regional Registration Office (FRRO) in Assam to ease the visa and consular related issues for the people of Bangladesh visiting Assam.
The Governor welcomed Foreign Minister Momen warmly and stressed on strengthening connectivity for the benefit of the common people. Dr. Momen appreciated the Governor of Assam for being nominated as the best Finance Minister. The Governor appreciated the outstanding economic progress made by Bangladesh in the past decade. He commended the development of the RMG sector of Bangladesh and its contribution to the economy and employment generation. He also stated that Assam is ready to provide favourable business environment and urged the Foreign Minister to promote investment in Assam.
Dr. Momen also met the members of the business community in Assam in presence of the Minister of Commerce and Industries of Assam. CEOs of Business bodies and the President of Chambers of Commerce participated in the interactions. Foreign Minister highlighted that Bangladesh with its exemplary economic achievements under the dynamic leadership of the Hon’ble Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is contributing to the peace and prosperity region. He also cited the various socio-economic indicators which substantiates Bangladesh’s development story making it one of the top five fastest-growing economies in the world. He also noted that Bangladesh ranks fifth in the world and number one in South Asia in Covid-19 resilience. He also invited investors from Assam to invest in Special Economic Zones being developed by the government of Bangladesh and to take advantage of the robust growth of the country. The Assamese Minister of Commerce and Industries stressed on the importance of infrastructural development of Land Ports and Waterways to promote trade. He also requested for facilitating investment from Bangladesh to Assam.