The BNP wants to maintain good relations with India, Khaleda Zia has told Indian High Commissioner in Dhaka Pankaj Saran. But the BNP Chairperson emphasised such ties must be based on mutual respect and benefits, according to a BNP leader. The former Prime Minister made her position known when Saran met her on Thursday. The BNP leaders had spoken against the neighbouring country before the Jan 5 parliamentary election. This was the first time Saran met her after the election the BNP and its allies boycotted. They had met earlier in the first week of December last year, when he had accompanied the Indian Foreign Secretary, Sujata Singh, during her meeting with Khaleda Zia. After the meeting, quoting Saran, BNP Vice-Chairman Shamser Mobin Chowdhury told reporters, “The [Indian] High Commissioner said his government wants to work with a government the people of Bangladesh desire.” “Responding to that the BNP Chairperson said that BNP wanted to have good relations with India based on mutual respect and benefit. We will maintain good ties with India.” Although the Western countries maintain that the general election boycotted by the BNP and its allies do not reflect the people’s aspirations, India has taken a different view. New Delhi has supported Sheikh Hasina’s new government, saying the holding of the election was a constitutional obligation. Before the elections, various BNP leaders had alleged that India was pushing to keep the Awami League in power. In her first press conference after the election, however, Khaleda Zia said without naming India that she was wanted good relations with all countries, especially the neighbouring ones. Pankaj Saran did not speak to the media after his meeting. Shamser Mobin Chowdhury, who was present at the meeting, said several bilateral issues were discussed in a cordial atmosphere. “The High Commissioner said the people of Bangladesh would decide on the kind of government they want. India wanted to work with government that represented the aspirations of people,” he said quoting Saran. Chowdhury said the Indian High Commissioner had mentioned the cooperation and good relations under the BNP government in the past and hoped they would be sustained in the future. He said, the BNP chief had urged Saran to convey her good wishes and greetings to President Pranab Mukherjee, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress President Sonia Gandhi. Khaleda’s advisors Osman Faruk, Riaz Rahman and Sabih Uddin Ahmed were also present at the meeting.