Visiting Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Monday said India can do a lot to help her country deal with the issue of Rohingya refugees and that both countries can work jointly to rejuvenate the cross-border rivers. She made the comments during an informal interaction with a group of reporters on the sidelines of a reception hosted for her by the Bangladesh High Commission.
“India is a big country. It can do a lot,” Hasina said when asked what role India can play on the issue of Rohingya refugees. Over 10 lakh Rohingya refugees are currently living in Bangladesh after fleeing from Myanmar’s Rakhine. The Bangladeshi prime minister also talked about the scope for Bangladesh and India to work together to carry out dredging of cross-border rivers so that they can be rejuvenated. She said the dredging of rivers will improve their flow.
Hasina said she expected to have a meeting with West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee but it could not happen. “She is like a sister, I can meet her whenever I want… We have always had good relations,” the Bangladeshi prime minister said.
In the evening, the chairman of Adani Group, Gautam Adani, called on the Bangladeshi prime minister.”It is an honour to have met Hon PM of Bangladesh Sheikh Hasina in Delhi. Her vision for Bangladesh is inspirational and stunningly bold,” the business tycoon tweeted.”We are committed to commissioning our 1600 MW Godda Power Project and dedicated transmission line to Bangladesh by Bijoy Dibosh, 16 Dec 2022,” he said.
Hasina arrived here on Monday on a four-day visit to hold talks with his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi. She will hold talks with PM Modi on Tuesday. During her stay, she will also call on President Droupadi Murmu and Vice President Jagdeep Dhankhar.On the first day of her state visit, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar called on the Bangladeshi prime minister.
“Delighted to call on Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina of Bangladesh this evening. The warmth and frequency of our leadership level contacts is a testimony to our close neighbourly partnership,” Jaishankar tweeted.Hours after her arrival, Hasina visited Dargah Nizamuddin Aulia in Delhi.
The overall strategic ties between India and Bangladesh have been on an upswing in the last few years.In March last year, Prime Minister Modi travelled to Bangladesh to attend events organised to mark the birth centenary of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and 50 years of the war of liberation of that country.In reflection of close ties, India also hosted a number of events to mark the 50th anniversary of the 1971 war that led to the liberation of Bangladesh.
The prime ministers of the two countries have met 12 times since 2015.Bangladesh is now India’s biggest trade partner in South Asia and the bilateral trade has grown from USD 9 billion to USD 18 billion in the last five years. It has also become the fourth largest export destination for India with the exports registering a growth of over 66 per cent from USD 9.69 billion in 2020-21 to USD 16.15 billion in 2021-22.