Bangladesh is ready to welcome Prime Minister Modi on March 26 to celebrate 50 years of Bangladesh's independence together
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and her Indian counterpart Narendra Modi are likely to hold a summit in Dhaka on March 27, taking forward the relations between the two countries keeping the celebratory year in focus.
Bangladesh is ready to welcome Prime Minister Modi on March 26 to celebrate 50 years of Bangladesh's independence together.
Bangladesh and India will hold four secretary-level meetings before the summit meeting between the two prime ministers to give input on the March 27 talks.
The meeting between the water resources secretaries of the two countries will be held in New Delhi while commerce secretary-level, home secretary-level, and shipping secretary-level talks will be held in Dhaka.
The two countries are currently working on four to five memorandums of understanding (MoUs) to be signed during the summit meeting. There is a possibility the number of bilateral documents will increase, with input from four secretary-level meetings.
Foreign Secretary Masud Bin Momen shared the plans during a briefing at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Sunday afternoon. The briefing focused on his New Delhi visit.
He said Indian Foreign Minister Dr Jaishankar is likely to visit Bangladesh before the visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Earlier in the December-17 virtual meeting, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina thanked her Indian counterpart for accepting her invitation to visit Bangladesh in person in March 2021, to join the celebrations on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of Bangladesh’s Independence and 50 years of Bangladesh-India diplomatic relations.
Bangladesh and India described the year 2021 as a historic year in their bilateral relations, as they would be commemorating the fiftieth anniversary of the Liberation War and the establishment of diplomatic relations between India and Bangladesh.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina requested the Indian side to consider Bangladesh’s proposal to name the historic road from Mujib Nagar to Nodia on the Bangladesh-India border as "Shadhinota Shorok”, commemorating the historic significance of the road during Bangladesh’s Liberation War.
The road is likely to be inaugurated during the PM-level meeting, said the Foreign Secretary, adding that Feni Bridge is also likely to be inaugurated.
On trade issues, Masud Momen said bilateral trade between the two countries crossed the US $1 billion mark and there is scope for further expansion of trade addressing the barriers.
The Commerce Secretary-level talks will discuss ways to remove all kinds of barriers for higher trade volume between the two countries, he said, adding that the meeting will be an important one.
Masud Momen said the air bubble arrangements during Covid pandemic have been extended between Bangladesh and India until April 30 or until the resumption of regular flights, whichever is earlier. “We saw its effectiveness,” he added.
He said the two countries are in discussion to resume tourist and student visas soon, at least on a limited scale.
Responding to a question, the Foreign Secretary said Bangladesh requested early operationalization of the motor vehicle agreement under the framework of Bangladesh-India-Nepal (BIN) to start with, as Bhutan is yet to complete their internal process.
Bangladesh also requested India to consider allowing the use of new land and rail routes, as well as land ports via India for facilitating connectivity between Bangladesh and Nepal as well as Bangladesh and Bhutan.
Secretary (East) at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Mashfee Binte Shams was also present at the briefing.
The Foreign Secretary-level talks between Bangladesh and India were held on Friday at the Hyderabad House in New Delhi.
The Bangladesh delegation was led by Foreign Secretary Masud Bin Momen while the Indian side was led by Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla.
High-profile officials from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Water Resources and Ministry of Commerce of Bangladesh formed the Bangladesh delegation.
The Indian delegation consists of representatives from the Ministries of External Affairs, Home Affairs, Commerce and Industry, Jal Shakti and Finance.