Ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Bangladesh later this month, India’s Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla assured Bangladesh leader Sheikh Hasina that the National Register of Citizens (NRC) …Read More
Call it gift diplomacy, if you will. India-Bangladesh ties are getting sweeter and closer, and this is reflected in an array of gifts Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasin has brought for her Indian hosts.
Sheikh Hasina brought with her a bouquet of gifts for President Pranab Mukherjee with whom shares close ties since long, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his mother and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee whose support she desperately needs to clinch the much-delayed Teesta river water-sharing agreement.
Sheikh Hasina handed over a kurta and a pair of silk pyjamas, artefacts, a dinner set, a leather bag set, 4kg of kala jamun and rosgolla, 2kg sandesh made of ‘goor’ , 20kg of Hilsa and 2kg of ‘mishti doi’(yogurt) for the Indian president, who is hosting the visiting PM at the Rashtrapati Bhavan for four days, on the evening of April 9.
Bangladesh’s Liberation War and Bangabandu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman loomed large as the prime ministers of India and Bangladesh held their official engagements and appeared together at a function to honour the Indian soldiers who sacrificed their lives for an independent Bangladesh.
After holding talks, Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and her Indian counterpart Narendra Modi jointly released the Hindi translation of Bangabandhu’s book “Unfinished Memoirs” at the Hyderabad House, with the Indian leader saying that Bangabandhu’s “life, struggle and contribution to the creation of Bangladesh will continue to inspire future generations.” The two leaders then pressed a remote control to unveil the plaque containing the new name of a prominent street in the heart of New Delhi — from Park Street to Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman Street.
In his joint appearance before the media with Mrs Hasina, Mr Modi termed Bangabandhu “a dear friend of India and a towering leader” and said the Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujiur Rahman Street is dedicated to the friendship between India and Bangladesh.
“As a mark of our respect and deep admiration for the father of Bangladesh, a prominent road in our capital city has been named after him,” Mr Modi said.
India and Bangladesh have pitched their burgeoning relations onto a higher trajectory by signing 22 agreements in diverse areas, including two crucial defence agreements and another one on civil nuclear energy cooperation. New Delhi has raised the bar for development and strategic cooperation by unveiling a combined package of $5 billion in new Lines of Credit for Dhaka.
The agreements were signed after wide-ranging talks between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Bangladesh counterpart Sheikh Hasina in the Indian capital on April 8.
India announced a new line of concessional credit of $4.5 billion for implementation of a wide array of projects in Bangladesh and another $500 million LOC for defence procurement by Bangladesh. The new credit package has made Bangladesh the biggest recipient of Lines of Credit for India and positioned New Delhi as a leading development partner of Dhaka.
Defence and security cooperation has received a big boost with Mr Modi announcing a Line of Credit of $500 million to support Bangladesh’s defence related procurement. “In implementing this line of credit, we will be guided by Bangladesh’s needs and priorities,” he stressed.
Pushing the envelope for bilateral relations, Mr Modi outlined new areas of cooperation, including “some high-technology areas, that have a deeper connect with the youth in both our societies.” “These would include working in the fields of Electronics, Information Technology, Cyber Security, Space exploration, Civil Nuclear Energy, and others areas,” he said.
Rail travel between Dhaka and Kolkata is set to be more comfortable from April 14 with Bangladesh and India set to make the Maitree Express train between the two cities …Read More
Will the waters of Teesta river unite, or divide India and Bangladesh? This is the overwhelming question for many commentators and the media in the two countries as Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina began her four-day visit to India on April 7.
Since September 2011, when West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee vehemently opposed the Teesta deal and chose to opt out of the then India’s Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s visit to Dhaka, a solution to the issue has remained elusive. As Ms Banerjee refused to budge from her stand, the Teesta issue appeared to have lost some traction as India and Bangladesh made dramatic strides in their bilateral ties in the last six years in a range of areas including security, land and maritime boundary demarcation, power and road connectivity. However, it returned to spotlight again on the eve of Sheikh Hasina’s visit primarily due two reasons: (1) the mercurial chief minister of West Bengal has agreed to be present in the talks between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Sheikh Hasina on April 8 and (2) Sheikh Hasina has once again made a strong pitch for the Teesta treaty on the eve of her arrival in Delhi.
There had been doubts and speculations if Ms Banerjee would join Modi and Hasina in the talks primarily due to her known stand on the Teesta issue and the daily political sabre-rattling between her and the Modi government on the issue of scrapping of high-value currency notes and Bharatiya Janata Party’s alleged saffron agenda across the country. The Hasina government, which faces elections next year, expects India to travel the extra mile to ensure that the Teesta deal is sealed and signed or at least get a concrete assurance from New Delhi during her visit to Delhi.
It remains to be seen if Mrs Hasina’s charm offensive has any effect on Ms Banerjee who is known for her hard-nose political sense. With panchayat (village administration bodies) elections in West Bengal just a few months away, will the chief minister take the risk of a deal that she believes will affect water supply from Teesta in northern part of the state? One has to wait till April 9 to know whether the mercurial chief minister has decided to stall the Teesta deal yet again, or defied all speculation to become saviour of this deal, which can move India-Bangladesh relations on another plane.
A prominent street in the heart of the Indian capital has been named after Bangladesh’s founder and iconic leader Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. It’s a gesture that will surely touch …Read More
India’s transforming relations with Bangladesh are set to scale new heights during Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s four-day visit to India which will see the two countries sign over 20 pacts, including a landmark agreement on defence cooperation which will bring the two countries into a tighter strategic embrace.
Sheikh Hasina touches down in New Delhi to a red carpet welcome on April 7 for a four-day visit, her first trip to India after a hiatus of more than seven years. India is pulling out all stops to make the visit a big success and project it as a model of its reinvigorated “Neighbours First” policy. In a difficult neighbourhood, India’s blossoming relations with Bangladesh is an unfolding good news story and shows what can be achieved in neighbourly relations with political will and mutual trust.
Briefing the Indian media ahead of Sheikh Hasina’s visit, Sripria Renganathan, Joint Secretary in charge of Bangladesh and Myanmar in India’s external affairs ministry, said in New Delhi that the two countries will sign a five-year framework agreement on defence cooperation for supply, renewal and research and development and a separate MoU under which concessional loan will be earmarked for Bangladesh to source defence equipment from India.
“We do intend to sign two MoUs on defence: one a framework for cooperation for a few years for supply and research and development and the second for Bangladesh to source defence equipment from India under which a line of credit will be earmarked,” she said in response to a question. Diplomatic sources said the Line of Credit for sourcing of defence equipment will be around $500 million.
The big takeaway of Sheikh Hasina’s visit will be a marked upswing in development cooperation, with India looking to announce a massive package of LOCs, which could be in range of $3-5 billion. Ms Renganathan said that India would extend “another substantial concessional loan” to Bangladesh, but did not specify the amount. This will be the third Line of Credit by India to Bangladesh, after the first two LoCs amounting to $1 billion and $2 billion were announced in 2011 and 2015. With the new LOC, which is expected to be announced after talks between Sheikh Hasina and Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi on April 8, Bangladesh would become the top recipient of India’s developmental assistance.
Counter-terrorism and radicalization of youth, the problems faced by India and Bangladesh, are also expected to dominate the agenda during bilateral talks between Sheikh Hasina and Modi.
India has rallied behind Bangladesh in its fight against terrorism as well as on the issue of the war crimes trial, days after Jamat-e-Islami leader Motiur Rehman Nizami was …Read More
With regular high-level visits between India and Bangladesh in the past year, Bangladesh’s Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is expected to visit India later this year.Read More