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Updated: July 23, 2011 15:59 IST

Sonia Gandhi to visit Bangladesh on Monday

PTI
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Congress president and UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi.
PTI Congress president and UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi.

Congress president Sonia Gandhi will visit Dhaka on Monday to receive an award from Bangladesh government on behalf of Indira Gandhi for her contributions to the 1971 liberation war, ahead of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s trip in September.

During her visit, Ms. Gandhi will also participate in celebrations to mark 40 years of creation of Bangladesh.

Ravni Thakur, joint secretary in the foreign affairs department of Congress, termed Gandhi’s visit as a “wonderful idea” that will strengthen the Indo-Bangladesh relations.

“India has a special relationship with Bangladesh and in particularly Gandhi family was very close to late Sheikh Mujibur Rehman as also Sheikh Hasina Wajed. Ms. Gandhi is going there not only as Congress president but also in the capacity of UPA Chairperson. This is very welcome move,” she said.

Bangladesh is celebrating 40 years of independence from Pakistan and late Prime Minister Indira Gandhi’s name figures on top of the list of foreign dignitaries who contributed to the liberation.

Ms. Gandhi’s visit comes ahead of Dr. Singh’s visit to Bangladesh in September.

Bangladesh Foreign Minister Dipu Moni had earlier this month said that Ms. Gandhi will receive an award on behalf of her late mother-in-law Indira Gandhi.

Ms. Gandhi will be in Dhaka at the invitation of Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina primarily to attend a conference on autistic children.

Bangladeshi officials had said that their government was set to name a major road in Dhaka after Indira Ms. Gandhi as part of an initiative to honour ‘foreign friends’ who contributed to its independence.

The officials said Bangladesh has so far listed 500 “1971 foreign friends”, including 226 Indians and 40 Pakistanis.

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