DHAKA: Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, who secured her fifth term in the recent general elections, outlined her plans for the country’s international relations and highlighted the strong bond between Bangladesh and India. She expressed gratitude towards India, emphasising its pivotal role in supporting Bangladesh during critical moments in history.
In a press conference at her residence, Ganabhaban, in Dhaka, she responded to a question from ANI about her plans for Bangladesh’s international engagement over the next five years and the ties with India, saying, “India is a great friend of Bangladesh. They supported us in 1971 and 1975. We consider India our next-door neighbour. I really appreciate that we have a wonderful relationship with India.”
The Prime Minister stressed the historical significance of India’s support during the Bangladesh Liberation War in 1971 and the subsequent challenges faced by the nation in 1975. She hailed the enduring friendship between the two countries and reiterated the importance of India as a key ally. “In the next 5 years, our main focus will be on economic progress and fulfilling all the work that we have started. We have already declared our manifesto, and we follow our election manifesto whenever we prepare our budget and try to fulfil our promises. The development of the people and our country is our main aim,” Sheikh Hasina added.
She further expressed her commitment to serving the people of Bangladesh, emphasising the responsibility she feels towards the citizens who have repeatedly voted for her. “I try to work for my people. With motherly affection, I look after my people. Our people gave me this opportunity. Time and again, people have voted for me, and that is why I am here…I am just a common person but I always feel responsible for my people. I feel this is the opportunity to serve my people and ensure them a better life,” she also said.
Highlighting Bangladesh’s aspirations for the future, Sheikh Hasina outlined the country’s goal to develop a smart population, smart government, smart economy, and smart society by 2041. She emphasised the importance of training the younger generation for the challenges of the future. “By nature, our people are very smart, and as I mentioned, we want to train our younger generation for the future. It is our target to develop the country by 2041. Smart population, smart government, smart economy, and smart society are our main aims,” the Prime Minister affirmed.
Hasina also addressed concerns about individuals with ties to terrorist organisations or engaged in illegal activities refraining from contesting elections. She asserted that the victory in elections is a result of the people’s choices and is not influenced by those avoiding participation due to such affiliations.
Hasina was re-elected for a fifth term in the national election that was conducted on Sunday amidst the boycott by the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) led by former PM Khaleda Zia, who is currently in jail.