INDIA: Building on Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s historic visit to Bangladesh nearly a fortnight ago, India and Bangladesh have accelerated efforts to forge a robust youth friendship bridge and enhance cooperation in the Indo-Pacific.
At a recently organised webinar by India Writes Network and India and The World magazine, eminent diplomats, experts, and politicians from India and Bangladesh have pitched for roping in the next generation of both countries to propel India-Bangladesh ties to new heights.
In his keynote address, India’s High Commissioner to Bangladesh Vikram Doraiswami underlined the need for greater involvement of young people in taking the India-Bangladesh relationship to the next level. “India and Bangladesh are among the youngest countries in the world in terms of youth profile and profile of the population,” he said in his Keynote Address at a webinar.
“Bringing the new generation of future leaders of Bangladesh and India into a new interpretation and understanding of the relationship is going to be critical for moving the relationship forward,” he said.
Eminent diplomats and experts spoke at the webinar, including Mr. Shahidul Haque, Bangladesh’s former foreign secretary, Mr. Nahim Razzaq, a Member of Parliament from the ruling Bangladesh Awami League, Amb. Veena Sikri, India’s former High Commissioner to Bangladesh; Amb. Anil Wadhwa, Former Secretary (East), India’s Ministry of External Affairs; Dr. Amena Mohsin, Professor, Dhaka University; and Dr. Prabir De, Professor, RIS.
In a similar vein, Nahim Razzaq, a Member of Parliament from the ruling Bangladesh Awami League, spoke about the need for creating an ecosystem where India and Bangladesh can connect the youth of these countries. “The young generation wants to see and learn and collaborate together in creating their own business connectivity. We have to create an ecosystem where we share the emerging ideas that bond us together,” said the 41-year-old Mr. Razzaq, a youth icon in Bangladesh.
“PM Modi’s historic visit has raised the bar and opened new vistas in this multi-layered partnership such as forging youth connectivity, start-ups, and emerging technologies,” said Manish Chand, CEO, and Editor-in-Chief, India Writes Network and India and The World magazine.
During his visit to Bangladesh, PM Modi announced India-Bangladesh partnership in start-ups and invited 50 entrepreneurs from Bangladesh to visit India to join the country’s start-up and innovation ecosystem and meet India’s venture capitalists. He also announced a 1000 Swarna Jayanti scholarship for the youths of Bangladesh.
Amb. Wadhwa- highlighted the importance of Bangladesh for India’s Indo-Pacific policy and Act East strategy and highlighted that Bangladesh can gain substantively from connectivity, infrastructure, and trade which is a primary Indian agenda in the Indo-Pacific.
Mr. Wadhwa, however, rejected rivalry with China and underscored that India should focus on its own model of engagement with Bangladesh. “We should concentrate on what are the best forms of collaboration between India and Bangladesh and leave others to do what they are doing,” he said.
“Bangladesh is very much part and parcel of India’s Act East policy. Bangladesh is planning to do several bilateral FTAs with ASEAN countries. This will help both India and Bangladesh to strengthen the value chain bilaterally and for third-country markets like ASEAN,” said Prof. Prabir De.