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Dhaka Tribune

Hasina, Manmohan meet on Mar 4

Update : 26 Feb 2014, 07:44 PM

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina will meet her Indian counterpart Manmohan Singh on March 4 on the sidelines of Bimstec summit to be held in Myanmar.

“The prime minister is scheduled to meet Myanmar president Thein Sein on March 3 afternoon and the following day she is scheduled to meet the Indian premier,” said a director general of the Foreign Ministry.

Meanwhile, India-based Outlook reported quoting Indian Foreign Secretary Sujatha Singh that the Indian premier would meet Hasina on the sidelines of the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectorial Technical and Economic Cooperation (Bimstec) Summit on March 4.

This will be the first meeting between the two prime ministers after Awami League came back to power through an election on January 5.

Teesta agreement, ratification of Land Boundary Agreement and important bilateral issues would be discussed in the meeting, said another official.

The Teesta agreement could not take place due to strong protest from West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee while LBA ratification process was delayed due to strong resistance from different stakeholders including BJP.

Hasina would also have meetings with president and prime minister of Nepal, Bhutan and Sri Lanka, he said.

Bangladesh, Bhutan, Myanmar, India, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Thailand are the member countries of Bimstec and currently Naypyidaw is the chair.

Bimstec was formed in Bangkok in 1997 and had its first summit in 2004 in Bangkok and the second one in New Delhi in 2008.

It has 14 sectors and Bangladesh is the lead country in trade, investment and climate change issues.

At the summit, the countries were likely to sign a deal to set up the Bimstec Secretariat in Dhaka and also a weather and climate centre in New Delhi, said another diplomat.

An agreement on cultural industries commission to be set up in Thimpu was also in the pipeline, he said.

“All countries agreed to set up the secretariat in Bangladesh but the formalities are yet to be completed and we hope to conclude them at the summit,” he said.

The government has already allocated a building in Gulshan as an interim headquarters for the secretariat. Renovation of the building is expected to complete in next three or four months.

Sri Lankan Diplomat Sumith Nakandala would be the first secretary general of Bimstec. He would visit Dhaka after the completion of renovation of the headquarters building.

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