Leaders of India and Bangladesh will focus on deeper maritime cooperation, sharing of river waters, connectivity, energy and food security as well as trade and investment opportunities early next week.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina accompanied by a high level delegation is visiting India from September 5-8 and in New Delhi she will hold bilateral talks with Prime Minister Narendra Modi. As reported earlier by Financial Express Online, she will be accompanied by a delegation which will have secretaries, ministers, senior government officials and top business representatives.
Agenda in New Delhi
The Bangladesh leader will call on President Droupadi Murmu and Vice President Jagdeep Dhankar. External affairs Minister Dr S Jaishankar will call on the visiting leader who from New Delhi will travel to Ajmer, Rajasthan from where she is likely to return to Bangladesh. She will start her visit on Monday by offering prayers at Delhi’s Hazrat Nizamuddin Auliya’s Dargah, her first as the prime minister of her country. The Dargah was also visited by her father Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.
Speaking to Financial Express Online, Gautam Lahiri, a senior journalist and Bangladesh commentator, says, “India-Bangladesh has celebrated the golden jubilee of diplomatic relations on the basis of agreement between Bangabandhu and former Prime Minister Late Indira Gandhi after liberation.”
Talking about the visit, he says that when the two leaders meet in New Delhi, they will have a road map for common strategy and sharing each other’s expertise to fulfill the goal.
“A paradigm shift in economic engagements is on the anvil. CEPA will be an ideal agreement for win- win situations. A joint study group on CEPA has already completed a feasibility study. This envisages a big increase of Bangladesh export to India resulting in an increase in growth rate by 1.72 percent.”
According to Gautam Lahiri, “Keeping the geo-political scenario in mind, new defence cooperation is expected to be discussed. The neighbouring country needs more energy and for that a newly built 1320 mw power plant may be inaugurated. The visiting leader may announce scholarships in the name of Bangabandhu to the families of deceased Indian soldiers who took part in the liberation struggle.”
Also, “Water resource management including signing of Kushiara river water sharing may be concluded. Connectivity will be the theme for bilateral talks which will increase people to people contact.”
On the visit, official spokesperson of the Ministry of External Affairs, Arindam Bagchi, said that the visit of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina will further strengthen the multifaceted relationship between the two countries based on strong historical and cultural ties and mutual trust and understanding.”
Last month on August 25, at the ministerial-level meeting of the India-Bangladesh Joint Rivers Commission in New Delhi the two sides had a meeting to finalise the text of the agreement which will be signed on Monday.
Seven out of 54 rivers have been identified for developing a framework of water-sharing agreements. In 1972 as a mechanism to address issues of mutual interest related to cross Border Rivers, the two countries constituted the Joint Rivers Commission.