By Mir Afroz Zaman
Dhaka:Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his counterpart Bangladesh PM Sheikh Hasina are set to have substantive discussions on this (Saturday) afternoon with the focus on trade, connectivity and COVID-19 cooperation.
The two South Asian countries, celebrating 50 years of establishment of diplomatic relations, want to progress together with others in the region at a "faster pace."
Neither Bangladesh nor the Indian side specifically mentioned the bilateral instruments to be signed after the talks but disaster management, trade and oceanography are likely to be areas of cooperation documents.
The Indian Prime Minister said the next 25 years will be “crucial” for both the countries – Bangladesh and India.Modi said his ongoing visit will contribute to even stronger bilateral relations between the two countries. “We’re committed to further deepening and diversifying our relations.”
“Connectivity is one of the issues that might get priority,” an official told UNB adding that Bangladesh wants enhanced connectivity with India and beyond.Prime Minister Hasina will have a one-to-one meeting with her Indian counterpart at the Prime Minister’s Office before having delegation-level talks at the PMO.
In a pre-arrival statement, Modi said he will be having "substantive discussions" with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, following their very productive virtual meeting in December last year.
They will jointly inaugurate some joint projects virtually and witness the signing of MoUs between the two countries after the talks.
During the Hasina-Modi virtual Summit held in December last year, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina highlighted the need for early signing of an interim agreement for sharing of the Teesta waters, as agreed upon by both the governments in 2011. Prime Minister Narendra Modi reiterated India’s sincere commitment and continued efforts of the Government of India in that regard.
The two leaders, during the Summit, underscored the need for early conclusion of Framework of Interim Agreement on sharing of waters of six joint rivers, namely, Manu, Muhuri, Khowai, Gumti, Dharla and Dudhkumar.
Modi is scheduled to visit Bangabandhu Mausoleum Complex, before holding talks with Prime Minister Sheikh Haisna, to pay tributes to Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman in Tungipara. He is the first Indian dignitary to ever visit the place.
The Indian Prime Minister said he will pay homage to Bangabandhu, alongside Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, during the ongoing Mujib Borsho celebrations.
He will place a wreath at the Complex, plant a sapling and sign visitors’ book there after visiting the Mausoleum.He will be offering prayers to Goddess Kali at the ancient Jashoreshwari Kali Temple, one of the 51 Shaktipeeths in the Puranic tradition.
"I’m particularly looking forward to my interaction with representatives of the Matua community at Orakandi, from where Sri SriHarichandra Thakur ji disseminated his pious message," Modi said.
Prime Minister Modi, as part of his two-day visit to Bangladesh, met senior political leaders from the 14-Party Alliance on Friday.
Senior Awami Leaders Amir Hossain Amu, MP and Tofail Ahmed, MP; Syed Nazibul Maizvandary, MP, Rashed Khan Menon, MP, Hasanul Haq Inu, MP, Pirjadda Mostafa Amir Faisal Mozaddedi, Fazle Hossain Badsha, MP, Syed Tayabul Maizvandary, Shirin Akhter, MP and Sharif Nurul Ambia were among the 14-party leaders.
Discussions centred on diverse issues of bilateral relations were held during the meeting to strengthen ties between the two nations.
Modi also interacted with Opposition Leader in Parliament Raushan Ershad, MP, Ghulam Muhammed Quader, MP, Ziauddin Bablu and Ruhul Amin Howlader.
The engagement involved discussions on a wide gamut of issues pertaining to the two countries' bilateral relations.
Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen met Prime Minister Narendra Modiand both reflected on deepening the fraternal ties and strengthening the all-encompassing partnership based on sovereignty, equality, trust and understanding that transcends a strategic partnership between the two countries.
Modi met the community leaders, including representatives of minorities in Bangladesh, Freedom Fighters, friends of India and youth icons.
Prime Minister Modi arrived in Dhaka on Friday at the invitation of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and together celebrated Mujib Borsho- the birth centenary of Bangabandhu and 50 years of Bangladesh’s Independence.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and Ministers from her cabinet welcomed Prime Minister Modi. A salute of 19 guns and Guard of honour were accorded to Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Soon after his arrival, Modi visited the National Martyrs’ Memorial and paid tributes to the martyrs Bangladesh Liberation War of 1971.
Prime Minister Modi also planted an Arjun sapling on the memorial premises and signed the visitor’s book in the monument.
He wrote, "I pray that the eternal flame at Savar remains a lasting reminder of the noble victory of truth and courage over deceit and oppression.”
Modi will meet President Abdul Hamid before leaving Dhaka by a special flight on Saturday evening.Foreign Minister Dr Momen will see him off at Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport.(UNI)