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bangladesh: Neighbours should be sensitive to each other’s concerns: Rajnath at Bangladesh High Commission | India News

NEW DELHI: India is keen to continue working closely with Bangladesh to support its defence and security needs, defence minister Rajnath Singh said on Monday, also emphasising that neighbours should be “sensitive” to each other’s concerns.
“India is deeply sensitive to the security and development concerns of its neighbours and hopes for reciprocal levels of sensitivity on the part of its neighbours towards the concerns of India,” said Singh, while visiting the Bangladesh High Commission here.
The minister, along with chief of defence staff General Bipin Rawat and the three Service chiefs, attended the function to commemorate the 1971 war of liberation’s golden jubilee and Banga Bandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman’s birth centenary.
The minister’s statement comes in the backdrop of Indian apprehensions at the increasing Chinese inroads in infrastructure and other sectors in Bangladesh. India has been steadily stepping-up military ties with Bangladesh — which incidentally acquired its first-ever diesel-electric submarines from China a few years ago — as part of the overall policy to counter Chinese inroads into its neighbourhood.
Singh, on his part, expressed satisfaction that the close defence cooperation between India and Bangladesh, which started during the 1971 war, was continuing apace. “Defence cooperation between the two countries has grown steadily in the last few years by way of several activities: defence dialogue, staff talks, joint training, exercise and high-level exchanges. It is remarkable that all three Service chiefs of Bangladesh have visited India this year. From India, the Army and IAF chiefs visited Bangladesh this year,” he said.
“India has extended a Line of Credit worth $ 500 million to Bangladesh for defence equipment. We hope that this gesture will spur joint activities not only in acquisition of assets but also in co-development and co-production of defence material,” he added.
It’s “critical” for the two armed forces to remain engaged with each other for mutual capability enhancement, to respond to contingencies, and to realise the shared goals of providing security and prosperity to their people, he said
Describing the Bangladesh War of Liberation as “an unprecedented event” in 20th century history, Singh said, “It was a moral fight against injustice, atrocities and oppression. Ordinary people were brutally maimed and murdered.”
“The barbaric atrocities of Operation Searchlight stirred the conscience of the world. However, the atrocities resonated strongest in the hearts and minds of ordinary Indians,” he said.
“India herself was in poverty, but there was no hesitation in wholehearted moral and material support to the people of Bangladesh in their fight for liberation. This was a fight to the end from an oppressive and undemocratic regime, which defied the people’s mandate. India gave shelter to millions of refugees even when we did not have enough for our own. A struggling nation gave shoulder to another,” he added.




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