Taking next important steps to strengthen their bilateral ties, India and Bangladesh have signed seven pacts in areas ranging from of railways, science and technology to space technology and broadcasting …Read More
Ahead of her visit to New Delhi, Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has lauded India as a “time-tested friend” and thanked Prime Minister Narendra Modi for helping out her country …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’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.