Further consolidating India's fraternal relations with Bangladesh at all levels will be his top priority, the new Indian envoy here has said as he termed the existing bilateral ties "beyond the strategic partnership".
High Commissioner Vikram Kumar Doraiswami, in his first media appearance on Thursday night after reaching the Bangladeshi capital by road through the eastern Akhaura frontier on October 5, said that New Delhi has entrusted him with an assignment to nurture the bilateral ties with Bangladesh and he would put his best efforts to carry out the mission.
My colleagues and I will spare no efforts to promote this partnership at all levels My government has ordered me to do exactly that, he said.
Doraiswami called the existing bilateral ties "beyond the strategic partnership", adding that even the closest of relationships need to be nurtured while fraternal ties with Bangladesh is one of our highest priorities.
The envoy's press briefing at his official India Bhaban residence came shortly after he presented his credentials to Bangladesh President Abdul Hamid at Bangabhaban presidential palace.
He said the Bangladesh-India ties goes beyond even strategic partnerships as it was based on shared sacrifice, history and culture, and on the uniquely close ties of kinship.
Doraiswami said the mandate which he secured reflected the approach of our government, where fraternal ties with Bangladesh are one of our highest priorities.
Let me stress that Bangladesh is, was and will always be a very special partner of India There is not, and will never be a diminution of the highest level of importance that Bangladesh holds in India, he said.
The envoy said that New Delhi would work at a pace ensuring the fullest respect for Dhaka's priorities and in a manner with which Bangladeshi people are comfortable.
We do our best to live up to the expectations of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and Prime Minister Narendra Modi, he said.
He reiterated India's commitment to build the fastest possible partnership with Bangladesh over a potential COVID-19 vaccine to be developed in India, put maximum efforts to eliminate border killing and find mutually acceptable solutions to all pending issues including water sharing.
The expected partnership on COVID-19 vaccine included phase-III trial, co-production and delivery in a way Bangladesh government is comfortable with, Doraiswami said.
"We would love to do this in a way that ensures the most affordable price. We will be in discussion with your government. I hope to raise it and understand from your government how you proceed," he said.
Doraiswami said he would like to see the completion of the connectivity projects at the earliest and ensure that they give necessary returns to the people of Bangladesh.
The envoy also said that he would like more Indian businesses coming to Bangladesh and invest in this country.
Doraiswami arrived in Bangladesh on October 5 through Tripura, three days after his predecessor Riva Ganguly Das left for New Delhi after a tenure of one-and-a-half years.
The new envoy comes at a time when Bangladesh is celebrating Mujib Borsho or Mujib Year (centennial birth anniversary of Bangladesh's founder Sheikh Mujibur Rahman) and also preparing for the golden jubilee of the country's independence, which incidentally marks the 50th anniversary of diplomatic ties between Bangladesh and India.
In this spirit, Doraiswami began his service to the partnership by paying homage to the heroes who brought the two nations to this point in history.
Doraiswami, a career diplomat, joined the Indian Foreign Service in 1992 and currently holds the status of an additional secretary in the Ministry of External Affairs.
He earlier served as India's ambassador to South Korea.