Hasina-Modi official talks on March 18
A wide range of bilateral issues is expected to be discussed during Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s official talks with her Indian counterpart Narendra Modi on March 18 in Dhaka, multiple sources have told Dhaka Tribune.
Indian Prime Minister Modi is likely to arrive in the capital on March 16 on a three-day visit to Bangladesh, they said.
The Indian leader will participate in the gala event on the birth centenary of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman on March 17 along with other global dignitaries. He will engage in bilateral engagements with the Bangladesh leadership.
This is going to be the second visit of the Indian head of government. His earlier visit to Bangladesh took place In June 2015.
Indian Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla will visit Bangladesh in the first week of March to prepare the groundwork for the Modi visit.
“As of now, it is all but certain that the Indian Prime Minister will visit Bangladesh from March 16 to 18. Dhaka and Delhi are still working on the details of the schedule of the visit,” a senior official familiar with the high-level trip told this correspondent.
In accordance with the schedule, he said that Prime Minister Modi would arrive in Dhaka on March 16, attend the centenary event on March 17 and hold bilateral talks with Hasina on March 18 before flying back to India the same day.
“This is going to be the return visit of the Indian Prime minister. Our Prime Minister paid two official visits to India – in April 2017 and October 2019,” said another official.
Prime Minister Hasina also visited Kolkata to inaugurate the historic day-night cricket test match between Bangladesh and India at the Eden Gardens in November 2019.
About the topics of discussion between the two heads of government, the officials said that both sides were still working on them and a clearer picture would emerge after the visit of the Indian Foreign Secretary.
However, they said that a wide range of issues of mutual interest was expected to be discussed.
“It is confirmed that the Prime Minister will attend the ceremony on March 17, but the details of his schedule are yet to be finalised,” Debabrata Paul, second secretary (press) of the Indian High Commission in Dhaka, told this correspondent.
About the upcoming visit of the Indian Foreign Secretary, he said, “I have heard that he is coming in the first week of March.”
On February 7, Indian Foreign Secretary Shringla said in Delhi that India wanted to see the visit become mutually beneficial to both the countries.
He also stressed that the two countries could further promote ties in areas like defence cooperation, trade and people to people contact.
On Bangladesh’s part, issues like Teesta water sharing agreement, killing of Bangladeshis along the border and trade imbalance are likely to get prominence.
Meanwhile, Bangladesh officials said that contrary to media reports it had not yet been finalised whether Modi would be the key speaker at the centenary event on March 17.
They also said that West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, who was invited by the government to take part in the centenary celebrations, had not yet confirmed her participation.