he embassies of India and Bangladesh in Cairo celebrated the 50th anniversary of India-Bangladesh diplomatic relationship on 6 December at Baron Palace.
In 1971, India recognized Bangladesh as an independent and sovereign state. This year also marks the golden jubilee of Bangladesh’s independence.
Many prominent personalities from Egyptian think-tanks, academic circles, media houses, businessmen, and diplomatic community etc. attended the celebration at Baron Palace. Members from the Indian and Bangladeshi communities in Egypt were also present at the event. Vice Minister for Tourism, GhadaShalaby, also witnessed the occasion as the Chief Guest.
Ambassador of Bangladesh Monirul Islam, in his address, thanked India for the warm hospitality and support given during the struggle in 1971. He commented that under the visionary leadership of the Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Bangladesh and India are now in a golden era of cooperation. Ambassador also recalled the personal bond between President Sadat and Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and said that Egypt was among the first Arab countries to recognize Bangladesh. He highlighted Bangladesh’s strong commitment to an international rule based order for achieving lasting peace and stability and stressed that ‘Friendship to all and malice to none’ has been the guiding principle of Bangladesh’s foreign policy. Citing the socio-economic progress made by Bangladesh since its formation, Ambassador said that Bangladesh intends to eliminate extreme poverty and achieve all SDGs by 2031 to become a modern, prosperous and developed economy by 2041. He also underlined the progress made by Bangladesh in the domain of woman empowerment and achieving gender parity.
Subsequently in the speech by Ambassador of India to Egypt, AjitGupte, he recalled the horrors of 1971 and stated that over 3 million Bengalis were brutally massacred and as much as 10 million were exiled from their very own home to India. He also spoke about how India supported their Bengali brethren, hosting them and supporting their Mukti Bahini fighters. Ambassador Gupte mentioned that Prime Minister Indira Gandhi herself toured in many countries, garnering international support for Bangladesh’s liberation. Ambassador recalled his tenure in Dhaka as a diplomat, and commented that Bangladesh has transformed itself from a war-torn country to a flourishing welfare state. He also highlighted the close bilateral relationship between India and Bangladesh in the domains of trade and economy, connectivity, security etc. and cited India-Bangladesh land boundary agreement and maritime agreement as living examples for how countries could resolve issues in a mature and amicable manner.
For her part, Ghada Shalaby, Deputy Minister of Tourism and Antiquities for Tourism Affairs said that today, we are welcoming unity and friendship between both countries as a clear example for how tourism can unite between both countries, between both societies in the best way possible to show to others.
Shalaby said that Egypt has gone through a lot during the pandemic during the past 18 months, which has really significantly affected Tourism.
She explained that Tourism is an important industry for Egypt’s economy, culture and employees, as it has close to 2 million employees working in this field.
“I believe also India and Bangladesh enjoy the same wealth of touristic activities,” Shalaby said.
She stressed that Egypt has various cultural, archeological, and natural resources that are a blessing and it’s also responsibility to be able to show it to the world how great it is.
The Indian dance-drama group Anveshana, led by Sangeeta Sharmaper, performed during the celebration. The performance was a combination of Eastern and Western dance forms, combining the essence of yoga, classical dances and martial art forms. Cultural performances of Bangladeshi diaspora added variety to the celebration. Exhibition of traditional art and crafts and tourism material from India and Bangladesh was also held during the event.