'Golden Bangla' is also India's dream: Envoy -The Asian Age

High Commissioner of India to Dhaka Harsh Vardhan Shringla has said that India shares Bangladesh's development dream and is ready to help in all aspects. "Your dream of golden Bangla is also our dream too," he said yesterday, ahead of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's 3-day "state visit" to New Delhi due to begin on April 7.

"We will always remain as each other's good neighbor," he said, speaking before the professionals who have either trained up or studied in India under the Indian government's Technical and Economic Cooperation (ITEC) and Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) programs. The Indian High Commission in Dhaka organized the event marking the ITEC and ICCR Day with Planning Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal as the chief guest.

Hasina will pay the state visit seven years after her last visit in January 2010 and two years after Narendra Modi's visit to Bangladesh in June 2015. The two leaders will hold official talks in New Delhi on April 8. Announcing the visit, the two countries earlier said the visit was expected "to further expand the cordial and cooperative relationship between India and Bangladesh and build on the strong ties of friendship and trust between the two leaders". "We are looking very much forward to the prime minister's visit," the High Commiss-ioner said. "Earlier, we

were neighbors, today we are together," he said, referring to Narendra Modi's comment during his visit in 2015. Referring to the recent visit of 20 newly inducted Indian Foreign Service officers in Dhaka, he said they came as part of the familiarization program in Bangladesh.

"We felt that this is the best example of friendship and partnership that we have with our own neighborhood with the country with whom we share a 4,000-kilometer border," he said. The ITEC Program was instituted in 1964 as part of India's Development Assistance Program within the framework of the Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation and the South-South cooperative  strategy, offering developing countries the benefit of India's development experience and appropriate technologies.

Every year more than 10,000 training slots are offered to 161 partner countries for training courses in various areas of Accounts, Audit, Management, SME, Rural Development, and Parliamentary Affairs, among others.
Over 2,600 young Bangladeshi professionals have undergone such specialized short and medium term courses in India under the ITEC program since 2007.

Since 1972, the Indian government has been offering academic scholarships to students from Bangladesh through the ICCR. These ICCR scholarships are granted at all levels from undergraduate to post-doctoral levels in all disciplines, except medicine.

So far, over 3,000 meritorious Bangladeshi students have been granted ICCR Scholarships to study in India. They are all well established in their chosen fields in Bangladesh and beyond. The High Commissioner said these scholarships enable Bangladeshi nationals to study in premier institutions and universities all over India, including in West Bengal, New Delhi, Bangalore, Pune and Chennai.

Students hailing from all parts of Bangladesh from the public as well as private educational institutions have benefitted from the prestigious ICCR scholarships, he said. "They are well established in all walks of life in Bangladesh and abroad, including government, academia, culture and sports". "They act as a bridge between India and Bangladesh relations," he said. More than 500 such alumni from all walks of life attended the event.