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The destinies of India and Bangladesh are intertwined and the relationship between the two countries could be a valuable contributor to regional connectivity, Bangladeshi envoy Mustafizur Rahman said on Tuesday.

In an interactive session at a think-tank here, Rahman also said South Asia is one of the least integrated regions in the world and a “synergistic approach” could ensure regional integration.

“The destinies of our two countries and people are intertwined, not only due to our geographical proximity, shared history, culture, heritage and value system, but also because of the indelible bond that was forged when we stood together, shedding blood together in 1971 for the independence of Bangladesh,” he said.

The Bangladeshi high commissioner also referred to the common vision of India and Bangladesh to build a stronger South Asia.

“In recent years, the leaders of Bangladesh and India have emphasised the significance of building a stronger South Asia,” he said at the Ananta Centre.

“The government of Bangladesh is currently focusing on economic diplomacy with the ambitious goal of establishing Dhaka as the centre of transit and trade in Asia,” he said.

“Bangladesh aims to serve as the gateway to landlocked Nepal, Bhutan and Northeast India,” he added.

Rahman said efforts are underway to establish Bangladesh as a hub of connectivity encompassing roads, railways, waterways, air linkages and power transmission.

“South Asia is one of the least integrated regions in the world. A synergistic approach to fostering regional integration is possible,” he said.

The envoy said connectivity stands out as a vital element for regional cooperation.

“I believe, Bangladesh-India relationship is a valuable contributor to regional connectivity and regional integration,” he said.

Rahman also lauded India’s ‘neighbourhood first policy’.

“India’s ‘neighbourhood first policy’ is also committed to creating mutually beneficial relationships with all the countries in the region,” he said.

“However, it is important to explore more sub-regional and regional connectivity initiatives to promote regional integration,” he added.

The high commissioner said Bangladesh could be a significant partner for the India-Myanmar-Thailand highway project to further enhance connectivity in the region.