Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to visit India next week

PM Hasina will hold talks with PM Modi, offer prayers at Ajmer Sharif

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina of Bangladesh will pay an official visit to India next week, the Ministry of External Affairs announced on Thursday. During her stay in India, PM Hasina will offer prayers at Ajmer Sharif and award Mujib Scholarships, an initiative of the Government of Bangladesh for the descendants of 200 Indian Armed Forces personnel who were martyred or suffered critical injuries during the Liberation War of 1971, Dhaka has announced. "In recent years, both sides have sustained high level of engagement including at the highest level between our two countries. The forthcoming visit of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina will further strengthen the multifaceted relationship between our two countries based on strong historical and cultural ties, mutual trust and understanding," said Arindam Bagchi, Official Spokesperson, Ministry of External Affairs.

Prime Minister Hasina will be accompanied by a number of Ministers, advisers, and secretaries, as well as a delegation of business houses of Bangladesh, announced a press release from Dhaka. Ahead of the visit, both sides held the Ministers-level meeting of the Joint River Commission (JRC) here on August 25, which highlighted the urgency to resolve bilateral riparian issues and the upcoming renewal of the Ganga Waters Treaty.

During the visit, Ms. Hasina will be hosted by President Droupadi Murmu and Vice-President Jagdeep Dhankhar, and hold a round of delegation-level talks with Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the Hyderabad House. She will also attend a business event being organised by the Confederation of Indian Industries (CII).

Ms. Hasina's visit comes after a gap of three years as South Asia re-emerges from the COVID-19 pandemic. Her last visit took place in October 2019 to attend a session of the World Economic Forum here. "The visit is significant for both Bangladesh and India as it will open new windows of cooperation between the two friendly countries," declared the announcement from Dhaka indicating that a number of agreements and MoUs are expected to be signed during the state visit. The Bangladesh leader has received media attention in recent months because of the launch of the landmark Padma Multipurpose Bridge that was opened by her on June 25. Next year, Bangladesh is expected to begin production of nuclear energy at the Russian-built Rooppur nuclear power plant.

Despite positive steps in the developmental arena, Bangladesh is facing increased scrutiny for alleged human rights violations from the western countries which has posed a challenge to the election-bound Awami League government. That apart, resolution of the Rohingya crisis remains high on the agenda of Ms. Hasina. Dhaka has been expressing disappointment over the inadequate diplomatic support from the international community to resolve the five-year-old Rohingya crisis as Myanmar remains non-committal to repatriate the refugees to Rakhine province. Bangladesh has been cautious in the backdrop of the war in Ukraine and the tension in Taiwan but hosted Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi last month when Dhaka received Beijing's appreciation for following the 'One China' policy.

Ahead of next year's election, Ms. Hasina has projected her strong secular credentials. She met with representatives of minority communities in Bangladesh during last month's Janmashtami celebration and assured of her government's commitment to the rights of the minority communities in her country. "We want people of all faiths to live with equal rights. You are people of this country, you have equal rights here, you have the same rights as I have," she said to the representatives of the Hindu community in a virtual event.