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Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s two-day state visit to Bangladesh this week will see a number of pacts, including one on trade, being signed, foreign secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla said on Wednesday.

A number of announcements, bolstering cooperation in areas such as health, railway connectivity, border development and startups, are also expected to be made, Shringla told reporters in New Delhi.

Modi is to visit Dhaka and a few other places in Bangladesh during his two-day trip to mark the birth centenary celebrations of Sheikh Mujibur Rehman, regarded as the father of the nation in Bangladesh. The two countries are also marking the completion of 50 years of Bangladesh’s emergence as an independent country with India’s help, as well as five decades of the establishment of diplomatic relations between New Delhi and Dhaka.

The importance of the visit could be gauged from the fact that as Bangladesh commemorates 50 years of independence “they have invited our Prime Minister to share the dais", Shringla said. Ties between the two countries had no parallel, Shringla said, pointing to the fact that Indian soldiers had fought and had been killed alongside Bangladeshis for their independence. Relations had evolved since then and were seen as “a model" for others to emulate, Shringla said, referring to the depth and breadth of interaction between the two countries.

Modi will also make a rare visit to Gopalganj’s Tungipara area, the birth place of Sheikh Mujibur Rehman, who is also the father of the present Bangladesh PM Sheikh Hasina.

“Both sides will sign a range of agreements during the Prime Minister’s visit. These agreements will cover a number of areas of our cooperation, such as disaster management, trade, and oceanography," Shringla said.

The trade pact expected during the visit is different from a comprehensive economic partnership agreement (CEPA) the two countries were negotiating, a person familiar with the matter said separately. Talks for CEPA would continue, the person added.

Despite the pandemic, the two countries had kept up the momentum of high-level contacts with virtual summits between the two prime ministers in December 2020, Shringla said.

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