Foreign Minister Abdul Momen to leave for India on Wednesday night
Bangladesh will seek more Indian support to resolve the Rohingya crisis as Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen is set to visit New Delhi.
He will leave for India on Wednesday night, for his maiden overseas tour since the Awami League government came to power for a third consecutive term, securing its victory in the 11th parliamentary election held on December 30, 2018.
“Among other things, we want to consult with my counterpart about the early resolution of the Rohingya crisis as it may affect regional stability,” the foreign minister said on Wednesday.
Momen said he expects enhanced Indian support in resolving the Rohingya crisis.
Bangladesh provided makeshift refuge to over one million Rohingya people, on humanitarian grounds, as they fled their homeland in Myanmar to evade a brutal military crackdown.
“I am visiting India in my maiden foreign tour to honour our great neighbor, the world’s greatest democracy,” the foreign minister said.
Momen acknowledged that Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi was the first foreign leader to greet his Bangladesh counterpart Sheikh Hasina soon after the December 30 election results were announced; and “we always find them beside us in our crises.”
“We have some other issues as neighbours, everywhere in the world has issues, but by now we have amicably resolved several of them—like the major maritime boundary and the land boundary—and expect the others to be solved as well since we now enjoy the warmest-ever relations,” he said.
Dr Momen did not elaborate on the expected deals with India during the tour but officials said the two countries could ink five memorandums of understanding (MoUs).
“The two sides so far have agreed to sign three MoUs and they could reach consensus on another two by tomorrow,” an official of the Bangladesh High Commission in Delhi told BSS on Tuesday.
Officials concerned in the mission said one of the three MoUs involves cooperation of the two countries in graft investigations; while the two others are about TV broadcasting and medicinal plants.
They said Bangladesh’s Anti Corruption Commission (ACC) and India’s Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) are expected to sign the first MoU; state-run Bangladesh Television (BTV) and Prasar Bharti of India the second; and the two health ministries the third.
Momen is set to arrive in the Indian capital tonight to attend the 5th India-Bangladesh Joint Consultative Commission (JCC) meeting on Friday.
The foreign minister will lead a high-level delegation—comprising secretaries of different ministries and department chiefs concerned with the JCC—in the meeting with his Indian counterpart Sushma Swaraj, who will be accompanied by the officials concerned of her country.
Officials in Dhaka said the gamut of bilateral relations—ranging from: trade and investment, security cooperation, connectivity, border management, defence cooperation, energy, shipping, and people-to-people exchanges—is expected to come up for discussion in the JCC meet.
Momen is also scheduled to call on Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday morning prior to joining the JCC meeting.
Later, he will meet former Indian President Pranab Mukherjee at the latter’s residence in New Delhi and attend a lunch, to be hosted by Swaraj, in his honour on Friday.
India’s union State Minister for Housing and Urban Affairs Hardeep Singh Puri will also host a dinner for him on Thursday.
Bangladesh High Commission in New Delhi will host a dinner on Friday in honour of the minister and his delegation.
Wrapping up his three-day visit, the Bangladesh foreign minister will leave New Delhi for Dhaka on Saturday morning.
The last JCC meet was held in Dhaka on October 22 to 23, 2017 when Sushma Swaraj led India’s delegation.