Foreign Minister Hasan Mahmud on Monday laid emphasis on expanding trade with greater connectivity with India as the two countries eye Ògreater momentumÓ in their partnership in the new term of the current government.
ÒWe discussed connectivity issues with much importance. We also discussed trade expansion,Ó he told reporters at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs after his meeting with Indian High Commissioner to Bangladesh Pranay Verma.
The foreign minister mentioned about the landmark cross-border trade settlement mechanism involving the rupee and bypassing the US dollar rolled out between the two countries recently.
ÒIt has already begun, you know. We are looking into how it can be expanded, popularised and reached out to all. If it can be done, dependency by the two countries on dollars or other currencies will come down,Ó said the foreign minister.
He said the initiative will be helpful for expansion of trade between the two countries. The two sides also discussed border haats.
The foreign minister said they discussed the use of Mongla and Chattogram ports to carry goods to Northeast India and laid emphasis on further infrastructure development for its useful expansion.
Asked whether they discussed the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA), he said they did not discuss it in particular but talked about trade expansion opportunities.
Looking ahead, the foreign minister revealed plans for his first bilateral visit to India, accepting an invitation from his Indian counterpart S Jaishankar.
The planned visit aims to further strengthen diplomatic ties, with the exact date to be decided later. Additionally, Mahmud is set to embark on a multilateral tour of Uganda on January 17.
He will attend the Non-Aligned Movement Summit from January19 to 20 in Kampala, Uganda.
The meeting with the Indian High Commissioner marks Mahmud’s first diplomatic engagement since assuming the office of foreign minister, highlighting his proactive approach in foreign affairs and regional cooperation.