President starts India tour tomorrow | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, March 08, 2018 / LAST MODIFIED: 02:26 AM, March 08, 2018

President starts India tour tomorrow

Singapore to name orchid after Hasina; she will visit the country from March 11

President Abdul Hamid tomorrow will land in Meghalaya's Balat, a small town in India near the Bangladesh border, where he set up a camp for Bangladeshi youths taking part in the Liberation War of Bangladesh in 1971.

The president, who is leaving for India today on a five-day official tour, will first visit the places in Meghalaya and Assam where he has memories during the Liberation War.

He will later visit New Delhi to attend the International Solar Alliance (ISA) Summit to be held on March 11.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina will leave Dhaka on March 11 for a four-day official visit to Singapore where an orchid will be named after her at Singapore's famous botanical garden.

She will visit the country at the invitation of her counterpart, Lee Hsien Loong, said the foreign ministry yesterday.

During a briefing of reporters at the ministry, Foreign Minister AH Mahmood Ali said President Hamid inspired and organised Bangladeshi youths to join the Liberation War at Balat, Gumaghat and Moilam in Meghalaya.

Hamid was a sub-sector commander of the Bangladesh Liberation Force (Mujib Bahini) during the war. He was also a prominent member of Zonal Administrative Council constituted in Meghalaya to administer the war and refugee camps.

"It will be a historic moment. The president wished to visit Balat, Dawki, Tura and Shillong in Meghalaya where he had spent time during the Liberation War, but Balat and Shillong were finalised.  A makeshift helipad will be set up at Balat where the chopper of the president and his team will land tomorrow [Friday]...," Kazi Muntashir Murshed, assistant high commissioner of Bangladesh told The Telegraph.

Around 1:00pm today, President Hamid, his wife and a 70-member delegation will land at Guwahati's Lokpriya Gopinath Bordoloi International Airport in Assam of India.

Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal and Governor Jagdish Mukhi will meet the Bangladesh president. Later on, the Assam government will host a dinner in honour of the Bangladesh president.

On Friday, two helicopters of Indian Air Force will take President Hamid and his entourage to Balat and then to Shillong, where the president is scheduled to visit the bungalow of Bidhan Chandra Roy (former Bengal chief minister between 1948 and 1962) and Sidli House, where Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore had stayed during his third visit in 1927.

After spending the night at the Raj Bhavan, the president will return to Guwahati and leave for New Delhi to take part in the founding ceremony of ISA Summit, scheduled to be held on March 11.

The event, participated by heads of states and governments of 23 countries along with ministerial level delegations from nine other countries, is being hosted jointly by India and France. A joint statement of participating countries will be issued after the conclusion of the summit, said the Bangladesh foreign minister.

The president is also likely to pay courtesy calls on the presidents of India, Sri Lanka and France. President Hamid will return home on March 12.


Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina during her visit to Singapore will hold a bilateral meeting with Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.

Hasina will also pay a courtesy call on Singapore's first female president, Halimah Yacob.

On March 12, she will attend a lunch hosted by the Singapore premier. Foreign Minister Ali during the briefing said Singapore, to honour Prime Minister Hasina, would name an orchid in its famous botanical garden after her name.

According to Singapore's decades-long tradition, all heads of states and governments paying state or official visits to the country are given the opportunity to have a unique orchid named after them.

Foreign Minister AH Mahmood Ali, State Minister for Power and Energy Nasrul Hamid, senior government officials and a high-level business delegation will accompany her. The PM will attend two meetings of “Bangladesh-Singapore Business Forum 2018” and “Bangladesh-Singapore Business Roundtable” as the chief guest.

Six agreements and memorandum of understandings are expected to be signed during the visit. Foreign Minister Ali said the visit is also “politically important” for Bangladesh as Singapore is the chair of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

Bangladesh will seek Singapore's support on the issue of Rohingya refugees and mobilising support for becoming the “Sectoral Dialogue Partner”, he added. The PM will return to Dhaka on March 14.

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