They will be visiting Bangladesh to celebrate the golden jubilee of the country’s independence and the birth centenary of its founder, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Maldives President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih and Nepal President Bidya Devi Bhandari are set to visit Dhaka this March, to attend the celebration of the golden jubilee of Bangladesh’s independence, as well as the birth centenary of the father of the nation, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.
Presidents, prime ministers and state chiefs from some other countries, including Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, and Bhutan Prime Minister Lotay Tshering are also likely to join this celebration virtually, according to several sources of the Prime Minister’s Office and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The Bangladesh government is going to hold a 10-day program - from March 17 to March 26 - to mark 50 years of an independent Bangladesh and the birth centenary of its founding father, said Dr Kamal Abdul Naser Chowdhury, chief coordinator of the National Implementation Committee for the Celebration of the Birth Centenary of the Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.
“We are working to finalize the 10-day program, which will be held from March 17 to 26,” he told Dhaka Tribune on Tuesday.
“We are trying to invite various high-profile guests, like state or government chiefs of some ally nations, to join us in the celebration. Some of them will visit physically, while some of them will attend it virtually,” he added.
A high-level inter-ministerial meeting is scheduled to be held at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Wednesday, regarding the Dhaka visit of the Indian prime minister and the Nepal and Maldives presidents.
What’s the itinerary like?
According to the Foreign Ministry sources, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi will arrive in Dhaka on March 26, Maldives President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih on March 17, and Nepal President Bidya Devi Bhandari on March 22.
Besides attending the golden jubilee celebration, they will hold bilateral meetings with President Abdul Hamid and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, the sources said.
“This is the very first foreign trip of Narendra Modi after the Covid-19 outbreak in India. He is coming to Bangladesh to uphold the Indian government’s neighbourhood first policy,” a top-level source at the Indian High Commission in Dhaka said.
“During this two-day visit, Narendra Modi is expected to visit Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman’s grave in Tungipara, Gopalganj, and the National Martyrs’ Memorial in Savar. He will also hold a bilateral meeting with the president and the prime minister of Bangladesh.
“Some significant development regarding the Bangladesh-India relation is expected to come during this visit,” said the Indian High commission official, requesting anonymity.
A special aide of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, requesting not to be named, told Dhaka Tribune: “The celebration of Mujib Year was postponed due to the Covid-19 outbreak in Bangladesh. That’s why initiatives are now being taken to celebrate Mujib year and the Golden Jubilee or 50 years of Bangladesh together on a large scale.
“The program will be organized at the National Parade Ground. The National Implementation Committee for Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman's 100th Birth Anniversary Celebration will arrange this program in association with the ministries concerned.”
March 17 marks Bangabandhu’s birthday, and March 26 is Bangladesh’s Independence Day. That is why the government chose this timeframe to celebrate this momentous occasion, sources said.
As part of the celebration, every day during the 10-day program, there will be two sessions - a discussion session and a cultural session.