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Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla to visit Bangladesh

Harsh Vardhan Shringla. File photo: PTI  

Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla is expected to reach Dhaka for a two-day visit on Monday to prepare the grounds for Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Bangladesh later this month. The visit will give space to both sides to revive their bilateral relationship, which has been tense since India passed the Citizenship Amendment Act, 2019 (CAA).

Continuing the negative trend, Bangladesh Speaker Dr. Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury cancelled her India visit on Sunday, raising concerns over high-level contacts between the two sides.

Bangladesh had invited Prime Minister Modi along with other international leaders to the launch of ‘Mujib Year’ celebrations in Dhaka on March 17. Dhaka's leading newspaper Daily Star reported that the government of Bangladesh has also invited Congress president Sonia Gandhi for the inaugural event. Former President of India Pranab Mukherjee, too, is scheduled to travel to Bangladesh around the same time for the celebrations.

 

This will be the first visit to Bangladesh by Mr. Shringla after he took charge of his office in January. Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s journey to Dhaka assumes importance as it comes three months after the controversial CAA was passed by the Indian Parliament. The new law, which has sparked protests across the country, grants citizenship rights to the minority communities of Bangladesh, Afghanistan and Pakistan. In a recent interview, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina termed the CAA as “unnecessary”.

Mr. Shringla is expected to hear words of concern from civil society members of Dhaka regarding the latest round of communal violence in Delhi. Coinciding with the arrival of the Indian Foreign Secretary in Dhaka, Terrorism and Communalism Resistance Morcha of Bangladesh has called for a peaceful protest rally in Dhaka’s Shahbagh area on Monday morning. “India must take urgent steps to stop violence in Delhi, which killed 41 and injured more than 300," said the organisation in a statement.

 

The Jatiyo Sansad Speaker Dr. Chaudhury was expected to pay a visit to Delhi from March 2-6, but the visit was cancelled late Sunday evening, Bangladesh media outlets have reported. Dhaka has not explained the reasons for the cancellation of the visit, during which the Speaker was scheduled to meet with several Indian leaders, including Mr. Mukherjee. to invite them to the March 17 event. Bangladesh cancelled several high-level visits in December and January after the citizenship law was passed here.

Last week’s communal riots in parts of Delhi also left an impact on bilateral relations as various political and religious outfits have come out against the proposed visit of Prime Minister Modi to Dhaka.


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Printable version | Sep 26, 2021 4:21:37 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/foreign-secretary-harsh-shringla-to-visit-bangladesh/article30958213.ece

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