India's partnership with Bangladesh stands out as a role model in the region for good neighbourly relations and very few countries in the world share such close fraternal ties, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar said on Monday.
He made the remarks after handing over 10 railway locomotives to Bangladesh at a virtual ceremony along with Railway Minister Piyush Goyal.
The external affairs minister said India's concessional lines of credit of close to $10 billion to Bangladesh are the largest it has extended to any country.
"Very few countries in the world share such close fraternal ties as those of ours. Our partnership today stands out as a role model in the region for good neighbourly relations," he said.
From the Bangladesh side, the online ceremony was attended by Minister of Railway Md. Nurul Islam Sujan and Minister of Foreign Affairs Abul Kalam Abdul Momen.
"As your close friend and neighbour, we are indeed happy to witness the transformative growth. We have seen impressive growth rates in the last few years. And your achievements across all socio-economic indicators have set new benchmarks," Jashankar said.
The ties between India and Bangladesh have witnessed a significant upswing in the last six years. Both sides have scaled up trade and economic engagement besides implementing a number of connectivity and infrastructure projects.
"Our two countries continue to script a relationship of ‘Shonali Adhyaya' (golden chapter), guided by the progressive vision of Prime Ministers Narendra Modi and Sheikh Hasina," said Jaishankar.
Talking about trade ties, the external affairs minister said exports from Bangladesh to India have crossed the $1 billion mark in 2019 which he described as a "remarkable" growth of 43 percent from the previous year.
He invited the business community of Bangladesh to further enhance their engagement with India.
"India remains a committed development partner of Bangladesh. Our uniquely concessional lines of credit of close to $10 billion is the largest India has extended to any country," Jaishankar said.
"These projects will help in the infrastructure development of Bangladesh, a pre-requisite for its economy to leapfrog to the next level. We need to work together to expedite many of the ongoing projects," he added.
Referring to the COVID-19 pandemic, Jaishankar said it has posed new challenges to the world, noting that India stands prepared to cooperate with the people of Bangladesh to tide over these difficult times.
"The pandemic has also forced us to come up with innovative solutions aimed at minimizing disruptions to our supply chain logistics. Thanks to our well-timed efforts, the business communities of the two countries have started utilising freight trains for transporting commodities and raw materials for manufacturing industries," he said.
"The movement of freight via rail has also ensured that the supply of essential commodities, and they continued undisrupted as Railway Minister noted, particularly in the holy month of Ramzan, as trade through land borders faced many challenges," he added.