Dhaka has high hopes from Modi visit

‘Now the time has come for tackling bigger issues’

June 06, 2015 02:58 am | Updated November 16, 2021 05:02 pm IST - DHAKA:

Two important foreign policy planners of Bangladesh have hinted that Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Dhaka would take bilateral ties to a new height.

“The two countries have resolved virtually all bilateral issues and embarked on ambitious cooperative projects,” Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s international affairs adviser Gowher Rizvi said in an interview with the state news agency BSS.

“Now the time has come to go forward and tackle bigger bilateral and sub-regional or trilateral issues, where much of our hopes lie,” Dr. Rizvi said.

On Friday, Foreign Minister A.H. Mahmood Ali has asked critics not to belittle the achievements. To questions on Teesta water sharing, which is unlikely to be discussed this time, Mr. Ali said: “We will definitely take it [Teesta] forward” and added, “We have solved many issues and our relations have reached a historic height now.”

The visit is likely to see a boost in trade, connectivity and anti-terrorism measures, highly placed sources told The Hindu .

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina will receive Mr. Modi at Dhaka’s Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport on Saturday.

At least 20 instruments ranging from security cooperation to people-to-people contacts would be signed, which Dhaka believes would further strengthen the relations.

Thrust on connectivity

According to the Foreign Minister, Bangladesh’s focus would be on connectivity as two bus services, connecting mainland India with its hard-to-reach north-eastern States through Bangladesh, would be flagged off during the visit.

In a separate interview on the visit, Indian High Commissioner in Dhaka Pankaj Saran, who worked closely during the past three years on improving bilateral ties, said, “...it [the visit] comes against the backdrop of a very, very historic step by our government and our Parliament towards ratification of the 1974 LBA and its 2011 protocol.”

In a Facebook post on Thursday night, Mr. Modi detailed his programme, saying he would be visiting Bangladesh with “a great sense of enthusiasm and delight” that will see the signing of a host of agreements and the announcement of grant-in-aid projects. He said: “…. It is with a great sense of enthusiasm and delight that I visit a nation with which India’s ties have been very strong.”

The Prime Minister said he would pay tributes to martyrs of the Bangladesh Liberation War and visit the Bangabandhu Memorial Museum to pay “tributes to the great Sheikh Mujibur Rahman” whom he described as “a friend of India and a pillar of strength and democracy in the South Asian region”.

Mr. Modi will end his visit on Sunday evening after a public speech.

Teesta deal

The visit is being seen as historic as it comes follows the resolution of a 41-year-old land boundary problem between the two countries. But the much-awaited Teesta water-sharing deal would remain pending even this time, as Mr. Modi has failed to convince West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee to endorse the agreement.

Ms. Banerjee is set to reach Dhaka on Friday night, hours before Mr. Modi.

Top News Today

Sign in to unlock member-only benefits!
  • Access 10 free stories every month
  • Save stories to read later
  • Access to comment on every story
  • Sign-up/manage your newsletter subscriptions with a single click
  • Get notified by email for early access to discounts & offers on our products
Sign in


Comments have to be in English, and in full sentences. They cannot be abusive or personal. Please abide by our community guidelines for posting your comments.

We have migrated to a new commenting platform. If you are already a registered user of The Hindu and logged in, you may continue to engage with our articles. If you do not have an account please register and login to post comments. Users can access their older comments by logging into their accounts on Vuukle.