The Hon'ble Prime Minister of Bangladesh, Sheikh Hasina Ji, Hon'ble guests, Hon’ble Chief Minister, Hon’ble Governor and friends!
The Bangladesh Bhawan is a symbol of cultural bondage between India and Bangladesh. This building is a symbol of the strong relationships between the millions of people of both the countries in terms of art, language, culture, education, family relationships and it marks the relationship that is strengthened by shared struggles against torture. I thank Sheikh Hasina ji and the people of Bangladesh for this building. I am extremely delighted to inaugurate this building in the holy month of Ramadan, from the karm-bhumi (the land where one works) of Gurudev Tagore who's the composer of the National Anthem of both India and Bangladesh.
The history of this University and of this holy land is older than that of the Bangladesh's and India's independence and even older than the partition of Bengal during the colonial era. It is a symbol of our shared heritage which the British could not divide, nor the politics of ‘divide and rule’. The myriad waves of the river Ganga touch the shores of both the countries. Our similarities strengthen our relationship. Bangabandhu, Sheikh Mujibur Rahman is respected in India as much as in Bangladesh. In a similar manner, the respect towards the great personalities like Swami Vivekananda, Subhas Chandra Bose and Mahatma Gandhi is the same in Bangladesh as well as in India.
The poems and the songs of the world renowned poet Rabindranath Tagore echoes in every village of Bangladesh. Similarly the compositions of Kazi Nazrul Islam are popular in every corner of West Bengal.
Names of several dignitaries of Bangladesh are associated with this university. Among them are Rezwana Choudhari Bannya, Aditi Mohsin, Lily Islam, Lina Taposhi, Sharmila Banerjee, and Nisar Hossain. As a result of the vision of Rabindranath Tagore, this Institution is beyond our political boundaries and bonds. Gurudev himself was a person of independent thoughts, who wasn't confined within the boundaries. He belonged to Bangladesh as much as to India. He was introduced to the Bengali folk songs of Gagan Harkara and Lalan Fakir on the soil of Bangladesh. The tune of his 'Amar sonar Bangla' song was inspired by Gagan Harkara. Influence of Baul song can be clearly seen in Rabindra Sangeet. Bangabandhu was a great admirer of Gurudev's ideals and art. Tagore's Universal Humanism had influenced Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. Gurudev's 'Shonar Bangla' was an important part of Bangabandhu's enchanting speeches. The idea of Tagore's Universal Humanism is an inspiration for us too. In our own words, we have reflected it in the concept of 'Sabka Sath, Sabka Vikas'.
We have to make ceaseless efforts so that the future generations are also made aware of the rich cultural traditions and the contributions made by these great personalities of both India and Bangladesh. All the related departments like the High Commission of India and other organisations and individuals, Indian Council of Cultural Relations etc. are engaged in this work. Today, as the 'Bangladesh Bhavan' has been inaugurated here, we have taken the responsibility of the renovation of Gurudev Tagore's residence "Kuthibari" in Kushtia district of Bangladesh.
Friends, the shared legacy and the sweetness of Rabindra Sangeet have smeared our relations with nectar and have united us at times of happiness and misery. This is the reason that even though the struggle for the liberation of Bangladesh was across the border, but the seeds of inspiration were sown in this land. Although the wounds were inflicted on the people of Bangladesh for the selfish desires of the opponents, yet the pain was felt on this side. This is the reason that when Bangabandhu became the leader of liberation, the spirit of millions of Indians was also automatically associated with that campaign. Our shared resolve and its history against tyranny and terror will continue to inspire future generations through this building. Friends, I remember how emotional it was last year when Bangladesh had honoured Indian soldiers in Delhi. It was not just the honour of 1661 Indian soldiers who had sacrificed their lives for Bangladesh's liberation but also of plethora of emotions associated with each of the freedom fighters of Bangladesh. It is very rare that neighbouring countries honour each other's soldiers.
Golden chapters of India and Bangladesh relations are being written down for the past few years. Complex bilateral issues such as the land boundary and Maritime boundary, which were once believed impossible to be resolved, have now been resolved. We are also rapidly progressing in the area of connectivity in terms of roads, railways, inland waterways and coastal shipping. New dimensions of connectivity are also evolving.
Last year the air conditioned train service was started between Kolkata and Khulna. We have named it 'Bandhan', which means 'friendship'. We are developing our relationship with the help of this 'Bandhan'.
India has been supplying uninterrupted electricity to Bangladesh. The current supply is 600 MW. This year we have a target of increasing it to 1100 MW.
The Northeast India is getting internet connection from Bangladesh too. India has provided 1 billion dollars of line of credit for assisting the developmental priorities set by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina for Bangladesh. There is a good progress in their implementation. Projects have been identified and credit has been provided for some projects.
Bangladesh is progressing rapidly also in the area of space technology. Recently, Bangladesh has launched its first satellite, Bangabandhu. I want to congratulate Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and the people of Bangladesh for this achievement. Today, in India we are using space technologies for raising the standard of living of the people and to bring transparency in the system. I am confident that in the future we will open new paths of cooperation between the two countries in the field of space technology.
I am glad that the regular interaction between Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina ji and us is instilling new energy to the cooperation between the two countries. She had visited India last year too. Her presence in this event is an honour.
Both our aspirations as well as challenges are similar. The crisis of climate change is in front of us. If the scorching sun is going to put challenges before us, the solution also lies in that sun's energy. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina ji has put forth the vision of Power to All for Bangladesh by the year 2021. In India, our target is to provide electricity connection to every household by next year. We have already completed the goal of providing electricity to every village of our country. Our resolutions are same and the way of attaining them is also the same.
India has taken the initiative of the International Solar Alliance. Many countries of the world have become part of this Alliance. This Alliance will explore the potential of solar power across the world and will also prepare a mechanism of funding to different countries. I am glad that Bangladesh is also a part of this Solar Alliance. The Summit of International Solar Alliance was held in Delhi in the month of March this year. We were extremely pleased that the Hon’ble President of Bangladesh had participated in the Summit. This shows the strong willingness of the two countries for cooperation to turn the challenges into opportunities.
Last month I met a hundred-member young delegation from Bangladesh. I realized that their dreams and aspirations are similar to that of the youth of India. We are committed to working together for development and to fulfil the dreams of the youth of both the countries.
Today under the leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, Bangladesh has moved on to a new path of development. India is as proud as the people of Bangladesh as she has fulfilled all the criteria for achieving the level of a 'developing economy'.
Bangladesh has also made significant progress in the field of social sector and has made the life of the poor easier. I believe this remarkable work will inspire the people of our country.
Today, the thread of the journey of development of India and Bangladesh is intertwined like a beautiful garland. There is an atmosphere of uncertainty in certain parts of the world. The geopolitics of the world is constantly changing. However, in the last few years an unflinching truth has been revealed to us; and that is the strong friendship between India and Bangladesh for progress, development, peace and stability. This cooperation has been enriched not only at bilateral level but also through platforms like BIMSTEC that has promoted regional progress and connectivity.
Every country will progress if this area develops. It has come to us as an opportunity in this period of time. Today, the close friendship and collaboration between India and Bangladesh is also a lesson for others to study and assess.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina ji has set a vision to make Bangladesh a developed country by 2041. This vision is a symbol of her far-sightedness and the tradition set by Bangabandhu that concerns the welfare of every Bangladeshi. India offers her full cooperation in achieving this goal.
I once again express my heartfelt gratitude to Sheikh Hasina ji for coming here. My best wishes to all of you at the inauguration ceremony of the Bangladesh Bhavan. Thank you!