Bangladesh PM Hasina to embark on four-day visit to India on Monday

5 September, 2022 | Pranay Lad

hasina Headlines

During Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s four-day visit to India, India and Bangladesh are expected to unveil a slew of measures to boost cooperation in areas such as defence, trade,...

During Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s four-day visit to India, India and Bangladesh are expected to unveil a slew of measures to boost cooperation in areas such as defence, trade, and river water sharing.

Following talks between Hasina and Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday, the two sides are expected to sign several agreements, including one on interim sharing of the Kushiyara river water.

Hasina is scheduled to visit the Dargah of the revered Sufi saint Moinuddin Chishti in Ajmer, Rajasthan, on Thursday.

Foreign Minister A K Abdul Momen, Commerce Minister Tipu Munshi, Railways Minister Md Nurul Islam Sujan, Liberation War Minister A K M Mozammel Haq, and Mashiur AKM Rahman, the PM’s economic affairs advisor, are among Hasina’s delegation members.

During her visit, which will last from September 5 to 8, Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina will also meet with President Droupadi Murmu and Vice President Jagdeep Dhankar.

According to people familiar with the visit, the two sides will announce measures to strengthen cooperation in areas such as defence, trade, river water sharing, and others.

Hasina last visited New Delhi in October of this year.

“The upcoming visit of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina will further strengthen the two countries’ multifaceted relationship based on strong historical and cultural ties as well as mutual trust and understanding,” the external affairs ministry said on Thursday.

Last month, India and Bangladesh finalised the text of their agreement on the interim sharing of the Kushiyara river’s water.

The text of the memorandum of understanding (MoU) was finalised on August 25 at the 38th ministerial-level meeting of the India-Bangladesh Joint Rivers Commission (JRC) in Delhi.

India and Bangladesh share 54 rivers, seven of which were previously identified for developing a framework of priority water-sharing agreements.

Overall strategic ties between India and Bangladesh have improved in recent years.

In March of last year, Prime Minister Narendra Modi travelled to Bangladesh to attend events commemorating the birth centenary of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and the 50th anniversary of Bangladesh’s liberation war.

To mark the 50th anniversary of the 1971 war that resulted in the liberation of Bangladesh, India hosted a number of events.

Since 2015, the two countries prime ministers have met 12 times.

Bangladesh is an important partner for India under its “Neighborhood First” policy, and cooperation includes areas such as security, trade, commerce, energy, connectivity, science and technology, defence, and maritime affairs.

Bangladesh is now India’s largest South Asian trade partner, with bilateral trade increasing from USD 9 billion to USD 18 billion in the last five years.

Bangladesh has surpassed the United States as India’s fourth largest export destination, with exports increasing by more than 66% from USD 9.69 billion in 2020-21 to USD 16.15 billion in 2021-22.

Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, both countries made progress on critical connectivity initiatives.

The Maitri Setu bridge over the Feni River in Tripura and the Chilahati-Haldibari rail link were among the achievements in the connectivity sector.

Bangladesh is India’s largest development partner, receiving nearly one-fourth of New Delhi’s commitment under the Line of Credit.

According to a source, total contracts have surpassed the USD 2 billion mark.

Since 2017, over 9000 Bangladesh students have received scholarships for education in India through the ‘Nutan Bharat Bangladesh Maitree Muktijoddha Santan Scholarship.’

For Bangladeshi nationals, India has served as a medical treatment centre.

According to official data, 2.3 lakh of the 2.8 lakh visas issued in 2021 were medical visas.

India’s visa operations in Bangladesh are the largest in the world. According to official estimates, 13.63 lakh visas were issued in 2019.

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