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Rashtrapati Bhavan : 03.11.2012

Begum Khaleda Zia, Leader of Opposition and Chairperson of Bangladesh Nationalist Party called on President Pranab Mukherjee this morning (November 3, 2012).

The President welcomed Begum Khaleda Zia to India and enquired about her stay and visit to Ajmer. He said India admires Begum Zia's contribution to the development of Bangladesh both as the Prime Minister and Leader of Opposition. India attaches the highest importance to our relations with Bangladesh which is a close neighbour.

Begum Khaleda Zia conveyed that she had good discussions with the Prime Minister and the External Affairs Minister.

The President recollected that he had the privilege of working with Begum Khaleda Zia twice before when she was in power. He called for the establishment of close and friendly relations between India and Bangladesh and said there exists tremendous potential for cooperation between the two countries. It is possible to change friends but not neighbours. The two countries must live in a friendly atmosphere and do their utmost to strengthen cooperation in all fields. He also reiterated the determination of India to address all concerns of Bangladesh.

Begum Khaleda Zia fondly remembered her past visits to India and long association with President Pranab Mukherjee. She reiterated the commitment of her party to the establishment of strong and friendly relations with India.

Begum Khaleda Zia was accompanied by a seven member delegation.

This release issued at 1315 hrs.