Bangladesh PM Sheikh Hasina’s state visit to India today. What’s on agenda?

Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's state visit to India aims to strengthen bilateral ties, with discussions scheduled with PM Modi and other leaders.

Mausam Jha
First Published21 Jun 2024, 11:22 AM IST
New Delhi: Bangladesh's Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. (PTI Photo)
New Delhi: Bangladesh’s Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. (PTI Photo)(PTI)

Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is coming on a two-day state visit to India starting today.

This visit, her second this month, holds significance as it marks the first incoming bilateral state visit by a foreign leader following the formation of India's new government after the Lok Sabha 2024 elections. Invited by Modi, this visit aims to strengthen and broaden Bangladesh and India's already strong ties, fostering cooperation and collaboration on various fronts.

Hasina was among seven top leaders from India's neighbourhood and the Indian Ocean region who attended Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Union Council of Ministers' swearing-in ceremony at the Rashtrapati Bhavan on June 9.

What's on the agenda?

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina of Bangladesh will participate in bilateral consultations with Prime Minister Narendra Modi during her visit.

Additionally, during her stay, she will meet with President Droupadi Murmu and Vice President Jagdeep Dhankhar and have consultations with Minister of External Affairs S Jaishankar.

Hasina and Modi are scheduled to meet on June 22 at Hyderabad House. They will hold wide-ranging talks on Saturday, during which both sides will likely firm up a raft of agreements to cooperate in several sectors.

Also Read: What does re-election of Sheikh Hasina mean for India?

“At the invitation of Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, Prime Minister of Bangladesh Sheikh Hasina will pay a state visit to India on June 21 and 22,” the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said.

“This will be the first incoming bilateral state visit after the formation of the government in India following the 18th Lok Sabha elections,” the statement said.

The MEA said in the statement that in addition to holding bilateral consultations with Modi, the visiting leader is scheduled to call on President Droupadi Murmu and Vice President Jagdeep Dhankhar.

“The talks between the two prime ministers are expected to focus on taking the bilateral ties to new heights,” a source told PTI.

Further discussions are anticipated to finalise the inauguration of the Feni Moitree Bridge for public transport and the commissioning of the second unit of the Rampal Moitree power plant. These projects signify the strengthening connectivity between India and Bangladesh.

Additionally, passenger movement through Maitri Setu, the bridge linking India and Bangladesh in the South Tripura district, is slated to commence by September this year.

India-Bangladesh relations

Bangladesh is an important partner for India under its “Neighbourhood First” policy. The cooperation extends to areas of security, trade, commerce, energy, connectivity, science and technology, defence and maritime affairs, among others.

Earlier in 2021, S Jaishankar had said that Bangladesh was not only a key part of India’s “neighbourhood first policy” but also crucial for New Delhi’s “Act East policy”, which aims to cement ties between India and Southeast Asia.

Also Read: ‘India is our trusted friend’, says PM Sheikh Hasina

Bangladesh is pivotal as India's largest development partner, with nearly one-fourth of New Delhi's commitment under the Line of Credit directed towards Bangladesh. Moreover, Bangladesh is India's largest trading partner in South Asia, while India ranks as Bangladesh's second-largest trading partner in Asia.

Bilateral ties

Bangladesh and India are members of several regional and international organisations, including SAARC (South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation), BIMSTEC (Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation), IORA (Indian Ocean Rim Association), and the Commonwealth. These memberships facilitate diplomatic and economic cooperation between the two countries on regional and global platforms.

In the fiscal year 2022-23, Bangladesh exported goods worth approximately USD 2 billion to India, making India the largest export destination for Bangladeshi products in Asia during that period. The bilateral trade between India and Bangladesh for the same fiscal year amounted to USD 15.9 billion, reflecting the robust economic ties and mutual cooperation between the two countries.

Indo-Pacific region

Both countries are viewed as twin engines of growth because they possess abundant and affordable human capital and deeply rooted social capital, emphasising cultural values.

Culturally, Bangladesh and certain eastern Indian states like West Bengal and Tripura share deep ties due to their common Bengali-speaking population. This linguistic similarity fosters strong cultural bonds, influencing shared traditions, literature, music, and cuisine.

This combination enables both nations to align their visions for the Indo-Pacific region, leveraging these assets for joint initiatives in connectivity, infrastructure development, and sustainable investments.

(With inputs from agencies)

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First Published:21 Jun 2024, 11:22 AM IST
HomeNewsworldBangladesh PM Sheikh Hasina’s state visit to India today. What’s on agenda?

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