Prime Minister Modi will be visiting Bangladesh during March 26-27 and will be his first abroad visit since the lockdown. He will also be visiting the mazar or mausoleum of ‘Bangabandhu’ Sheikh Mujibur Rahman in Tungipara of Gopalganj district. Bangladesh is India’s closest neighbor and ties with the country has entered into a golden era, pointed out Harsh V, Sringla.

In a secretary-level meeting between the two countries, India and Bangladesh have come in a an agreement whereby they plan to expand cooperation on issues relating to water resources.  Foreign Secretary, Harsh V. Sringla has commented that India will be focusing on the defense and security aspect of the bilateral relationship between New Delhi and Dhaka. It is also believed that talks will be held to strengthen defense cooperation which will also figure in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Dhaka on 26-27 March, according to the Foreign Secretary. 

In the media briefing, Sringla emphasized that security and defense cooperation form an important part of cooperation with Bangladesh. He highlighted how in recent years, and agreement on defence cooperation has been signed with Bangladesh. He also added how joint military exercises have been undertaken on a regular basis, training and capacity building exercises and stated how it has been a regular practice for Indian chiefs of the armed forces to visit Bangladesh. 

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INS Kulish and INS Sumedha had also visited the Mongla Port of Bangladesh from 8-10 March, marking as the first visit India has ever undertaken since the 50 years. Sringla’s remarks came at the backdrop of India giving an impetus to to enhance infrastructure connectivity with Bangladesh. In addition, New Delhi plans to take Dhaka in its strategic embrace under the umbrella of Indo-Pacific cooperation. The Foreign secretary also mentioned that India has extended a $500 million line of credit to Bangladesh for defense imports from India. It has gifted 18 new 120mm mortars to the Bangladesh Army in December 2020 under army-to-army cooperation.

It is believed that Gopalganj will be in focus also for the visit by Mr. Modi to the Thakurbari at Orakandi, the heartland of the Matua Hindus who constitute a sizeable community in both Bangladesh and West Bengal. The Matuas will play an important role in the coming Assembly elections.

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