PM to land in Dhaka tomorrow

In his first visit abroad after the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be chief guest at Bangladesh’s celebrations for its 50th anniversary and 100th birth anniversary of its founder Sheikh Mujibur Rehman. Modi will land in Dhaka on March 26 and visit three other towns in Bangladesh before he returns to India on the 27th.

He will visit Tungipara, the family village and home of “Bangabandhu” Sheikh Mujibur Rehman. He will also offer prayers at the Jessoreshwari Kali temple in Satkhira and at the Matua temple in Orakhandi—perceived as wooing the Matua Dalits in West Bengal which goes to the polls on the 27th. Briefing journalists, foreign secretary Harsh Shringla said Bangladesh is India’s biggest development partner in the world, and as Shringla said, India’s largest visa office.

The main message from Modi’s visit is to reaffirm the high level relationship with Bangladesh. People-to-people relations will get a big boost. India and Bangladesh are expected to sign a couple of agreements during the visit — particularly on disaster management and trade.

India is likely to announce new partnerships with Bangladesh on startups — the two countries are exploring a startup conclave to incentivise startups and partnerships in both countries.

The PM is also likely to announce new initiatives in education and environment, specially about meeting Paris commitments. Space, societal application of nuclear technology and emerging tech issues are all likely to be part of India’s new approach to Bangladesh. India, Shringla said, will take the Bapu-Bangabandhu digital exhibition to about 18 countries, making the Mujib Barsho celebrations an international affair.

Meanwhile, India and Bangladesh are discussing the construction of a 765-kV power interconnection from Katihar in India via Parbotipur in Bangladesh to Bornagar which when constructed, will reinforce the interconnectivity of grids in the region. Earlier, Shringla told the Ananta Aspen Centre that the PM’s visit was “an important occasion. The Prime Minister is the only guest so it will be he and Prime Minister Hasina who will conduct the proceedings that will mark these important milestones in the history of our countries.”

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