President Pranab Mukherjee on Tuesday launched Akashvani Maitree radio service for Bengali listeners aimed at providing a platform for blending content from India and Bangladesh and preserving Bengali culture. “With this launch, a new chapter is being added in the India-Bangladesh relations,” Mukherjee said while launching the radio channel at the Raj bhavan in Kolkata.
“Akashvani Maitree and its multimedia website is a unique venture and initiative of All India Radio not only for the Bengali listeners in West Bengal, Bangladesh and the adjoining areas but the entire Bengali speaking diaspora living in different parts of the globe,” he said. Noting that India and Bangladesh are not just neighbours but are bound by an umbilical connection of ethnicity and kinship, the President said, “India always attaches highest importance to bilateral relations with Bangladesh because of our shared history, heritage, culture, language, physical proximity.”
He said the two countries can together play an important role in the development and prosperity of the entire subcontinent and beyond. The concept of the channel emanates from the decision taken during the visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Bangladesh where the two sides agreed to share content among their broadcasting organisations.
The channel will be broadcast from a state-of-the-art brand new high power 1000Kw DRM transmitter with a capacity to reach the entire length and breadth of Bangladesh through medium wave and will be also available globally on its website and mobile app.
Mukherjee said Akashvani has a special place in the heart of millions of people of Bangladesh since 1971 when the precursor to Akashvani Maitree, a special service in Bengali language was launched in the wake the Bangladesh Liberation movement. He recalled that the channel had played a historic role during the liberation movement.
He said the new channel can play a significant role in promoting and preserving the composite Bengali cultural heritage which is proud inheritance of all Bengali speaking people irrespective of their geographical location. “I am sure the blending of content from both India and Bangladesh in the fields if art, culture, literature, music, sports and also on shared socio-economic issues will make the channel a unique one,” he said, adding that it will be useful for listeners on both sides of the border. He also said India and Bangladesh can work together for further realising the full potential of the SAARC initiative.