'Bangladesh first' to India, says Sushma

Indian External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj

"While I have focused on progress in our bilateral relationship, we are aware of outstanding issues", she said.

India's External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on Sunday met Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to discuss the humanitarian crisis caused due to influx of Rohingya refugees from Myanmar's Rakhine State. The EAM is on a two-day visit to the neighbouring nation.

"India is following a policy of neighbours first, and among the neighbours Bangladesh is foremost", Ms Swaraj said at the function, describing bilateral relations as having gone beyond a strategic partnership. She last visited in 2014 after becoming the Indian external affairs minister. Sushma Swaraj also referred to the peaceful solution of the land as well as maritime boundary issues.

During the ceremony today, she also launched 15 development projects being funded by India in Bangladesh, which officials said have been planned as per the country's geographical spread, socio-economic benefits and priorities.

The projects cover sectors such as education, healthcare, IT, water supply and social welfare. The External Affairs Minister arrived in Dhaka today and was greeted by Bangladesh Foreign Minister Abul Hassan Mahmood Ali.

The Minister conveyed greetings from Prime Minister Narendra Modi and informed the Bangladesh leader about the discussions at Sunday's Joint Consultative Committee meeting.

Sushma inaugurated the new Chancery Complex of the Indian High Commission in Dhaka. We have also supported implementation of the recommendations contained in the Kofi Annan-led Special Advisory Commission report, ” she said.

Both countres also discussed the challenges of terrorism, radicalisation and extremism during the JCC meeting.

Ms Swaraj, who is on a two-day visit to Bangladesh, said New Delhi and Dhaka were unanimous on zero tolerance towards terrorism.

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