External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj opened the new chancery complex of the Indian High Commission in Dhaka today and also inaugurated 15 development projects in Bangladesh being funded by India. On the last day of her Bangladesh visit, Swaraj lit the ceremonial lamp to mark the opening of the huge complex at Dhaka’s Baridhara diplomatic enclave, which includes the high commission that was previously operating from a house in Gulshan area of the city.
During the ceremony, she also launched 15 development projects being funded by India in Bangladesh, which officials said have been planned as per the country’s geographical spread, socio-economic benefits and priorities. “India is following a policy of neighbours first, and among the neighbours Bangladesh is foremost,” Swaraj said at the function, describing bilateral relations as having gone beyond a strategic partnership.
The development projects, worth about USD 8.7 million, are in the areas of education, health care, information technology, water supply, and social welfare. They include installation of 11 water treatment plants in southwestern coastline of Pirozpur to benefit some 150,000 people, 36 community clinics, and reconstruction of Dhaka’s historic Ramna Kali Temple which was destroyed by invading Pakistani troops in the 1971 liberation war.
Bangladesh’s Foreign Minister A H Mahmood Ali, Health Minister Mohamad Nasim, and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s political affairs adviser H T Imam, among others, were also present at the ceremony. The new chancery complex has been constructed on a 5-acre plot of land. Apart from the chancery, the complex consists of the residence of the Indian High Commissioner, a housing block, a sports complex, and a multipurpose recreation hall.
The staff members of the high commission shifted to the housing block in 2004 and the chancery started functioning from its new premises from October last year. Swaraj arrived in Bangladesh yesterday for the annual meeting of the India-Bangladesh Joint Consultative Commission with her counterpart A H Mahmood Ali. She will return to New Delhi later today wrapping up her Dhaka visit, her second since assuming office in 2014.