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PM to leave Dhaka today for 2-day India visit

PM to leave Dhaka today for 2-day India visit

Staff Correspondent

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina will pay a two-day state visit to India starting from today at the invitation of her Indian counterpart Narendra Modi.

Several agreements and memorandums of understanding (MoUs) are set to be inked during the visit.

This will be the first incoming bilateral state visit of the Bangladesh prime minister after the formation of the government in India following the 18th Lok Sabha elections, Indian Ministry of External Affairs announced on Thursday.

During the visit, apart from holding bilateral consultations with the Indian prime minister, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is scheduled to call on Indian President Droupadi Murmu and Vice President Shri Jagdeep Dhankhar.

The Indian external affairs minister is scheduled to call on the Bangladesh prime minister today.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina was among the international leaders who attended the swearing-in ceremony of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Union Council of Ministers on 9 June 2024.

During this visit, the two sides are expected to discuss a wide range of issues including water, port, and defence.

Bangladesh and India are likely to sign a dozen of bilateral instruments with some new initiatives by identifying new areas of cooperation during Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s state visit to India on 21- 22 June, officials in Dhaka have said, adds UNB.

The two-day state visit might carry some directives giving a picture of greater cooperation between the two countries in the future, they said.

This will be Hasina’s second trip to the Indian capital in less than 15 days.

Though it is unlikely to see any breakthrough on Teesta water sharing deal specifically at this moment, the issue will come up for discussion in addition to a likely discussion on broader Teesta and relevant projects on development and management, a senior official told UNB on Tuesday.

Earlier on 9 May, India reportedly expressed interest to finance Bangladesh's Teesta project, which is known as “Teesta River Comprehensive Management and Restoration Project”.

"You know, we have taken a big project on Teesta. India wants to finance this project. It will have to be implemented in line with our needs. We want to see our needs fulfilled," Foreign Minister Hasan Mahmud told reporters after his meeting with Indian Foreign Secretary Vinay Mohan Kwatra at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on 9 May.

The renewal of the Ganges Water Sharing Treaty will also come of for discussion, officials said.

Foreign Secretary Masud Bin Momen recently said the two countries are scheduled to sign a number of MoUs and agreements, and there is an issue of making some announcements on some areas of cooperation.

“There will be continuity of the relations, and we expect to see some new initiatives in our relations,” he told reporters on the sidelines of a reception recently.

Former State Minister for Foreign Affairs Md Shahriar Alam said they would take the Bangladesh-India relations to a new height in the next five years as there are new governments in place in the two neighbouring countries with continuity amid new mandate.

“There will be a stock-taking on what we left in September 2022 and we will take the relations to a new height in the next five years,” he said on Friday, noting that the expectations and aspirations are sky-high.”

Recalling earlier discussions, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, during her state visit to India in September 2022, reiterated Bangladesh’s long pending request for concluding the interim agreement on the sharing of the waters of the Teesta River, the draft of which was finalised in 2011.

Sources in the Foreign Ministry indicate that key issues on the agenda include cross-border connectivity initiatives, Indian investments in the Teesta special economic zone, management of Mongla port, and power trade.

Additionally, discussions on a potential trade pact are expected.

Over the past decade, numerous cross-border initiatives have been launched as part of a robust regional partnership plan.

The Modi-Hasina summit on 22 June might also focus on enhancing the defence partnership between the two nations.

Bangladesh says India is a friendly country, and Bangladesh does not compare the Dhaka-Delhi relations with anyone else. “India stood beside us during the War of Liberation in 1971. Our relationship with India is multifaceted. We share borders with India. We are supportive of each other,” Hasan Mahmud said.

A flight from Biman Bangladesh Airlines carrying PM Hasina and her entourage will depart Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport on Friday at about 2pm, according to the sources in the Foreign Ministry.

The flight will land at Palam Airport, New Delhi at about 4pm (India time), where high-level dignitary of India and Bangladesh High Commissioner to India Md. Mustafizur Rahman will welcome her.

At 6pm (India time) on Saturday, the prime minister will depart from Palam Airport, New Delhi, by a flight of Biman Bangladesh Airlines and will land in Dhaka at about 9pm.

 

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