PM Modi’s Bangladesh visit begins tomorrow; Delhi, Dhaka may ink pacts in health, connectivity, trade

It will be the Prime Minister's first visit to a foreign country since the Covid outbreak.

New Delhi and Dhaka are likely to sign agreements in several sectors such as health, railway connectivity, border development and start-ups during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s two-day visit to Bangladesh beginning Friday.

“I am happy that my first foreign visit after the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic will be to our friendly neighbouring country, with which India shares deep cultural, linguistic and people-to-people ties,” a statement released from the Prime Minister’s office on Thursday said.

“My visit will not only be an occasion to convey appreciation for Bangladesh’s remarkable economic and developmental strides under Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s visionary leadership, but also to commit India’s abiding support for these achievements,” it added.

Modi will also visit the mausoleum of ‘Bangabandhu’ Sheikh Mujibur Rahman at Tungipara in Gopalganj district, and he will be the first Indian dignitary to visit the place, Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla said on Wednesday.

It will be the Prime Minister’s first visit to a foreign country since the Covid outbreak.

“This visit will be of very special significance and will serve to highlight the celebration of our unique and special ties which reinforce our comprehensive strategic partnership with Bangladesh,” Shringla said at a media briefing.

Asserting that Bangladesh is at the “intersection” of India’s ‘Neighborhood First’ and ‘Act East’ policies, the foreign secretary said it was a “momentus time” in bilateral ties.

Modi’s visit is taking place at a time when Bangladesh is commemorating ‘Mujib Borsho’, the birth centenary of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and 50 years of the country’s war of liberation. The two countries are also celebrating 50 years of the establishment of diplomatic ties.

“As a reflection of growing cooperation, both sides will be signing a range of agreements… These agreements will cover a number of areas of our cooperation,” Shringla said. He said some of the areas where agreements will be inked are disaster management, trade and oceanography.

There will be new announcements of cooperation in areas of culture, preservation of spirit of 1971, health, railways, education, border development, power cooperation and start-ups, he added.

During his visit, Modi will call on President of Bangladesh Mohammad Abdul Hamid and will hold restricted and delegation-level talks with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.

The Prime Minister will also interact with diverse groups of Bangladesh’s polity and society which will include the representatives of the country’s ruling 14- party alliance, the opposition party, freedom fighters, community leaders and youth icons, Shringla said.

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