Kolkata/New Delhi, (IANS) Bangladesh President M. Zillur Rahman and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina Sunday congratulated Pranab Mukherjee on his election as India’s president and hoped bilateral relations would grow further under his “able direction”..
A Bangladesh High Commission spokesman in Kolkata said Hasina called Mukherjee in the evening after he was formally declared president-elect.
Hasina and Rahman sent separate missives exuding confidence that India-Bangladesh ties would further improve during his tenure.
Hasina, in her message, expressed happiness at Mukherjee becoming the first Bengali to hold the president’s post in post-independence India.
“The well-deserved election of Pranab Mukherjee as the President of India bears the testimony to trust and confidence which the political leadership and the people of India reposes in him. It’s also the recognition of vast experience and knowledge that you have gained over the last 50 years in your politics for the people,” the letter read.
“Since our government assumed office in January 2009, it has been an endeavour to explore new opportunities to realise mutual benefits for our two countries and peoples,” she said, hailing Mukherjee’s personal efforts for attaining the same “as a great source of inspiration”.
She also referred to Mukherjee’s steadfast support to the people of Bangladesh “during the days of struggle for the country’s independence in 1971″.
“Since then, your association with Bangladesh and her people has been of a time-tested good friend striving hard to elevate our two countries’ relations to an enviable level,” she added.
Bangladesh Foreign Minister Dipu Moni, who has known Mukherjee personally, also felicitated him. “We have a common future and I am confident that your statesmanship will enable India and Bangladesh to achieve the fullest potential of our special relationship,” she said.
During his stint as foreign minister, Mukherjee visited Dhaka many times, important visits that set the stage for a turnaround in once-difficult ties between India and Bangladesh.
India and Bangladesh will hold annual foreign office consultations in New Delhi this week to review bilateral projects and discuss the entire gamut of their improving relationship.