Bangladesh PM Sheikh Hasina arrives tomorrow on two-day state visit, several agreements to be inked

New Delhi/Dhaka, June 20 (UNI) Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina will pay a two-day state visit to India on June 21-22, at the invitation of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Several agreements and MoUs are set to be inked during her visit.

This will be the first incoming bilateral State Visit after the formation of the Modi government following the 18th Lok Sabha elections.

During the visit, apart from holding bilateral consultations with Prime Minister Modi, Prime Minister Hasina is scheduled to call-on President Droupadi Murmu and Vice President Jagdeep Dhankhar.

EAM is scheduled to call-on the Prime Minister of Bangladesh on Friday.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina was among the international leaders who attended the swearing-in ceremony of the Prime Minister and the Union Council of Ministers on June 9, a statement said.

According to Daily Star of Bangladesh, the two sides are set to discuss issues such as water, port and defence.

Fresh loans from India under a new framework will also be on the agenda of the bilateral talks as Bangladesh grapples with a crunch in foreign currency reserves, it said quoting sources.

Besides, the intense fighting in Rakhine State, in Myanmar, will feature prominently during the delegation-level meeting between the two sides.

The issue of funding for the ‘Teesta River Comprehensive Management and Restoration Project’ will feature prominently in the talks, the daily said, citing sources.

The agreement was finalised in 2011, but could not be inked due to opposition from West Bengal.

The Economic Relations Division sought a $983.27 million loan from China to implement the Teesta project, which includes river dredging, setting up reservoirs and building townships along the river.

On October 13, 2022, then-Chinese ambassador to Bangladesh Li Jiming said his country was serious about implementing the project, but also had a sense of reluctance due to sensitive issues surrounding it.

During a visit to Dhaka on May 9, Indian Foreign Secretary Vinay Mohan Kwatra told Foreign Minister Hasan Mahmud that India was interested in financing the Teesta project.

On June 13, Hasina told the parliament that the government was considering a proposal for a detailed feasibility study for the Teesta project as China’s evaluation pointed out that there was a lack of detailed proposals on land development and water navigation.

The two prime ministers are also to discuss the renewal of the Ganges Water Sharing Treaty that was signed in 1996. The treaty is set to expire in 2026.

India is keen to manage the Mongla river port, which is crucial for better connectivity between Kolkata and India’s north-eastern states.

India is also keen to develop an alternative network of railway routes through Bangladesh to connect its northeast with the rest of the country. This would reduce India’s reliance on the existing route through Siliguri, the daily said.

India may in principle approve the supply of electricity from Bhutan to Bangladesh using its power grid.

India is also likely to push for defence equipment sales to Bangladesh under the $500 million line of credit.

Bangladesh will seek smooth supply of essentials like wheat, sugar and onions from India.

The two leaders may also announce the launch of formal negotiations for a comprehensive economic partnership agreement (CEPA).

The issue of border killings will also be on the agenda.

A press release of the Bangladesh Prime Minister’s Press Wing said that during the visit both the premiers will have a tête-à-tête followed by delegation level talks. During the visit both Bangladesh and India would sign several agreements and Memorandum of Understandings (MoUs) to strengthen the existing bilateral ties further.

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