Talks on Modi Visit: Jaishankar arrives in Dhaka today | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, March 04, 2021 / LAST MODIFIED: 03:18 AM, March 04, 2021

Talks on Modi Visit: Jaishankar arrives in Dhaka today

Indian External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar will arrive in Dhaka today on an official visit ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to the country on March 26-27 to attend the golden jubilee celebrations of Bangladesh's independence.

Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen is scheduled to welcome the Indian minister, who will fly from Delhi in a chartered flight, at the Bangabandhu Airforce Base in the capital at 10:00am.

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They will hold a bilateral meeting for an hour at state guesthouse Padma and then hold a joint press briefing. Jaishankar will then call on Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in the afternoon and then inaugurate a branch of the Indira Gandhi Cultural Centre in Gulshan before flying back to Delhi in the evening.

Officials concerned said Jaishankar and Momen, during their meeting, will take stock of the bilateral relations and the MoUs that are likely to be signed during Indian Prime Minister's visit.

"We have some pertinent issues that will be discussed during the meeting. Those include sharing of common rivers, including Teesta, joint border management to bring border killings to a zero, reducing trade barriers and promoting regional connectivity," said a foreign ministry official.

During Modi's visit, he is likely to visit the Bangabandhu Memorial in Tungipara -- the birthplace of the Father of the Nation, join celebrations of the country's 50th year of independence, join the birth centenary of Bangabandhu and hold a summit-level meeting with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.

India seeks to speed up the connectivity projects -- rail, road and waterways -- to connect India to its North Eastern region through Bangladesh, while Bangladesh seeks to strengthen regional connectivity and cooperation.

"There are always some expectations centring all the visits, or least to take the issues forward through discussions," M Shahriar Alam, Bangladesh state minister for foreign affairs, told reporters on Tuesday.

As Bangladesh is on its way to graduate from the LDC status by 2024, the government seeks to sign a comprehensive economic partnership agreement with India at the soonest, a foreign ministry official said.

Bangladesh also wants to join the India-Myanmar-Thailand trilateral highway, an issue raised by Dhaka during Narendra Modi's virtual meeting with Sheikh Hasina on December 17 last year. The issue may be raised again during the two foreign ministers' bilateral meeting today.

"Dhaka also sought to get access to Nepal and Bhutan through five new routes. This can also come up during the discussion," the official said.

The post-Covid cooperation will be an important aspect of the meeting, he said. India is yet to start issuing tourist visas due to the pandemic, though it is issuing medical, official and business visas.

India also gifted Bangladesh two million vaccines, manufactured by the Serum Institute of India. Bangladesh is buying another 30 million vaccines from India through Beximco Pharmaceuticals.

As India is now a member of the UN Security Council, Bangladesh expects it to play a strong role during the Rohingya repatriation from Bangladesh to Myanmar, officials said.


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