India and Bangladesh have confirmed that External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj will visit Dhaka in the first half of September to attend the fourth Bangladesh-India Joint Consultative Commission (JCC) meeting. Dates for the proposed visit, however, are yet to be finalised. Indian High Commissioner to Bangladesh Harsh Vardhan Shringla had a meeting with Foreign Secretary Shahidul Haque in this regard at the Bangladesh Foreign Ministry here yesterday, reports the Daily Star. This will be Swaraj’s second visit to Bangladesh. She last visited the country between June 25 and June 27, 2014. Diplomatic sources here said the JCC meeting would review the implementation and progress of decisions taken during Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s visit to India in April. The third JCC meeting was held in New Delhi on September 20 in 2014 when Foreign Minister A H Mahmood Ali led a 26-member delegation. Diplomatic sources said the foreign offices of the two countries were working to finalise the date of Swaraj’s visit. She will attend the UN General Assembly in New York in the second half of September.
Meanwhile, High Commissioner Shringla expressed hope for a free and fair general election in Bangladesh. “We’re all democracies. We all believe in free and fair elections,” he said, adding that he was sure, like in many other democracies, this was something that would happen. Talking to reporters after his meeting with the foreign secretary, Shringla, on participatory elections, said democracy means participation and whoever wants to take part in a democratic process. He also said not participating in the democratic process means “you’re not there”.
The high commissioner said the development profile between the two countries is large with $8 billion line of credit so far. He also said there are regular discussions on water resources issues.