Modi receives Bangladesh PM at airport

Prime minister Narendra Modi broke protocol to receive Bangladesh PM Sheikh Hasina at the airport this morning, signaling the importance of the visit as well as the relationship. It was the first time Modi made this exception for a neighborhood leader, having done so for former US president Barack Obama and recently, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi. Modi also traveled to the airport in normal traffic rather than following VIP protocol, which was just as unusual as the fact that he spent time with Bangladeshi journalists and Hasina's staff, even taking selfies with them.

Foreign minister Sushma Swaraj called on Sheikh Hasina afternoon to reaffirm India's commitment to Bangladesh. Saturday will be the official part of the visit, beginning with a ceremonial reception at the forecourt of Rashtrapati Bhavan, followed by a wreath laying at Rajghat. The two sides will go into delegation level talks and launch of new bus and train services between India and Bangladesh.

Sheikh Hasina in a special “shommanona“ ceremony will honour those Indian soldiers who had fought in the Bangladesh war and been killed in action. This comes after her decision to honour the Indian civilians who had worked and made a difference during the 1971 war.

On Saturday, Hasina will also have occasion to meet with and talk with Mamata Banerjee, CM of West Bengal who is the single obstacle to a Teesta water sharing pact.

On Sunday, Hasina will offer prayers at Ajmer, before returning to Delhi for a meeting with President Pranab Mukherjee who will host a dinner in her honour. On Monday she will be felicitated by a think tank, India Foundation and address Indian business leaders to solicit investment in Bangladesh before leaving for home.

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