Now it’s Bhutan
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina will hold a bilateral meeting with her Bhutanese counterpart Dr Lotay Tshering at her office today to discuss ways of enhancing connectivity.
Some Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs) are likely to be signed between the countries to enhance cooperation.
In the afternoon, Tshering will join the celebrations of Mujib Borsho and the golden jubilee of Bangladesh's independence at the National Parade Square and deliver a speech as the guest of honour.
Tshering is the fourth world leader to join the 10-day celebrations that began on March 17. Maldives President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih, Sri Lankan Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa and Nepali President Bidya Devi Bhandari have attended the celebrations.
Bhandari left for Nepal yesterday after a two-day visit, during which she held talks with President Abdul Hamid, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen. Four MoUs were also signed between the two countries during her visit.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi will arrive in Dhaka on March 26 on a two-day visit.
After a call on the Bhutanese prime minister yesterday afternoon, Foreign Minister Momen said Bhutan, which recognised Bangladesh on December 6 in 1971, is a genuine friend of Bangladesh.
"We have discussed connectivity. The prime minister [Tshering] says development is possible if the potential of the region is best utilised. It can be done through connectivity and partnership. Then, we don't need to look at others. We don't need the advice of others," Momen said.
Asked about connectivity, he said, "We are considering a direct flight from Dhaka to Thimpu. We will also examine railway connectivity. We can also consider options of river routes."
Tshering, who studied medicine in Bangladesh and can speak fluent Bangla, arrived at the Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport at 9:30am yesterday. Hasina welcomed him at the VVIP tarmac with a bouquet. The visiting leader was subsequently given a tri-services guard of honour.
Several ministers, state ministers, and high-ranking civil and military officials were also present at the airport. Tshering then went to the National Martyrs' Memorial in Savar to pay tributes to the martyrs of the Liberation War of Bangladesh. He signed the visitors' book and planted a sapling next to the one he planted on April 12, 2019.
He also visited the Bangabandhu Memorial Museum in Dhanmondi to pay tribute to the Father of the Nation.
"On behalf of the people and the Royal Government of Bhutan, I offer my humble respect and prayers to Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman for rising above the manacles of foreign exploitation and blessing the nation onto a path of unprecedented peace, prosperity and stability," the Bhutanese premier wrote in the visitors' book, reports BSS.
His daughter Sheikh Hasina is now fulfilling Bangabandhu's vision of 'Sonar Bangla', and with each passing year, Bangladesh is becoming more prosperous and its people are becoming happier, he also wrote.
". . . thank you [Bangabandhu] for being a true leader. Amar Desh, Tomar Desh . . . B/desh, B/desh [my country, your country . . . Bangladesh, Bangladesh]," Tshering wrote.
In the evening, Tshering attended a cultural programme and a banquet hosted by Hasina in his honour.
He is scheduled to pay a courtesy call on Bangladesh President Abdul Hamid at the Bangabhaban in the afternoon today.