Priority on completion of projects in election year
With the general elections in Bangladesh slated for later this year, Bangladesh and India are in talks to fast-track implementation of the development projects under the second and third lines of credit totalling seven billion dollars.
Before the general elections in India due early next year, the two countries have turned their focus on projects related to power, connectivity and river dredging, sources told The Daily Star.
Bangladesh has conveyed to India, through government as well as political channels, the development projects in their list of priority and diplomats of the two countries have stepped up their engagement for this, they said.
Indian Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale is reported to have called back India's Ambassador to South Korea, Vikram Doraiswami, to lead the drive to complete as many projects as possible. It is hoped that the development partnership between New Delhi and Dhaka gets more visibility during the election year in Bangladesh.
An important reason for India's push towards expediting the implementation of the projects is to address the growing perception about the slow pace in India's delivery on commitments.
India announced a two billion dollar line of credit during Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to Dhaka in June, 2015. Another soft loan of five billion dollars was granted when Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina visited Delhi in April last year.
Bangladesh has been the biggest recipient of India's developmental spending in the last seven years amounting to eight billion dollars. Sources said the actual disbursement of money under the lines of credit since 2015 stands at 300 million dollars.
Meanwhile, both sides are looking at dates in the fourth week of this month for the PM's proposed visit to India for the inauguration of the Bangladeshi funded Bangladesh Bhawan in Visva Bharati University.
According to sources, Hasina's visit may take place between May 21 and 28.
Cultural Affairs Minister Asaduzzaman Noor, during his visit to Visva Bharati recently, said Hasina would inaugurate the Bhawan and Dhaka was keen to have Modi present at that time.
Sources said Hasina and Modi may jointly inaugurate the Bhawan.