‘Waiting for visa-free travel between Bangladesh, India to be a reality’

Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen today said he is eagerly waiting for the day when no visa will be required for Bangladeshis and Indians to travel to each other’s countries.

“Our relationship is written in blood and we want to deepen it. I’m waiting for the day when people from both countries can travel without visas,” he said at a discussion marking 50 years of diplomatic relationship between Bangladesh and India.

India recognized Bangladesh on December 6, 1971, and the day was declared “Bangladesh-India Friendship Day” — being celebrated across 20 countries, including in Bangladesh and India.

“This day is truly a historic day, a day of true friendship,” Momen said at the event, titled “50 Years of Independence”, organized by the Sector Commanders’ Forum at Dhaka’s Jatiya Press Club.

Through recognition of Bangladesh it was clear that the war, where India had taken part on December 3, 1971, was not an “India-Pakistan war”, the minister said.

Momen said following India’s recognition, Russia had vetoed the US-sponsored resolution at the UN Security Council on a ceasefire on December 7, 1971.

The decision by the then Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi was unique and very carefully thought-out, he said.

Bangladesh and her people are grateful to India and the Indian people for supporting — in all ways — the Liberation War.

Today, after 50 years of independence, the relationship between the two countries has reached a new height — one that can be considered a model in the world, Momen said.

“We have solved all major problems through dialogue and discussion. We will do the same for any other small problems arising,” he said.

The connectivity between the two countries via rail, road, and riverways is improving, he said, adding that connectivity with all the countries in South Asia, including Nepal, Sri Lanka, Bhutan, will be improved rapidly.

“We want to accomplish such development in the region that the whole world will be amazed,” he said.

Sector Commanders’ Forum Executive President Mohammad Nurul Alam, Secretary-General Harun Habib, Liberation War Museum Trustee Dr. Sarwar Ali, Indian High Commissioner to Bangladesh Vikram Kumar Doraiswami, Bhutan’s Ambassador Rinchen Kuentsyl also spoke.