DHAKA, Aug 23, 2016 (BSS) - India today launched a new state-run Bangla-language radio service for strengthening further the existing communication with Bangladesh, an Indian High Commission statement said.
It said Indian President Pranab Mukherjee launched the radio service named Akashvani Maitree at a ceremony in Kolkata.
"Akashvani Maitree will be an important channel of communication between India and Bangladesh," the statement quoted Mukherjee as saying.
Bangladesh President Abdul Hamid, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and Jatiya Sangsad Speaker Dr Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury welcomed the launching of new radio channel Akashvani Maitree. The Bangladesh leaders, in separate messages, hoped that the new channel would act as a "bridge of amity" between the two countries.
"(I hope) the vision and mission of this service will play a pivotal role in fostering good neighbourly relations with Bangladesh by focusing on shared history, culture, heritage and common challenges faced by the two nations," President Hamid said in his statement.
He also expected the channel to help explore possible areas of cooperation and providing a platform for people to people contact.
In her message, Sheikh Hasina expected the Akashvani Maitree to be the maiden venture of air, "which would provide opportunity for blending of contents from the fields of art, culture, literature, music, sports, shared socio-economic issues and so on both from Bangladesh and India".
The Bangladesh premier expressed the hope that the new radio station would not only foster friendship and fraternity among the people of the two countries, but it would also help socio-economic emancipation of the people of the two countries.
On this occasion, she also recalled the contribution of the Indian government by providing logistic support to Swadhin Bangla Beter Kendor and the role of Akashvani Kolkata, which aired inspirational programmes and news during the War of Liberation in 1971.
Sheikh Hasina thanked Pranab Mukherjee for his personal initiative to launch the channel.
In a message, Indian High Commissioner in Dhaka Harsh Vardhan Shringla said Akashvani Maitree was a reflection of "the shared cultural heritage and close linguistic ties that India and Bangladesh share".
"It would go a long way in strengthening the people to people connect between the two nations as the programmes aired on this special channel would reach the remotest corners of India and Bangladesh," the envoy said.
The proposal to establish the radio channel with content sharing from Bangladesh and India was discussed during Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to Bangladesh in June, 2015.
Indian officials said state-of-the-art transmitter was installed in Chinsurah in West Bengal to enable the service to be broadcast throughout Bangladesh while the service would be broadcast in India and Bangladesh on 594 KHz or 505 meter.
"The station will broadcast various programmes for 16 hours a day. The first transmission will be 6am to 2:30 when the second one will be 3:30pm to 11pm everyday. Live streaming of the station's programme will also be available at www.airworldservice.org," an Indian high commission statement said.