Food diplomacy : Northeastern states respond to Bangladesh's

·3-min read

Sheikh Hasina's gift of manges with pineapples, honey, spices (Eds : collating related stories) Shillong/Agartala, July 9 (PTI) India's Northeastern states of Tripura and Meghalaya have taken to food diplomacy showcasing their states' best products in response to a gift of mangoes that their chief ministers received from Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina of Bangladesh.

While Tripura Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb, plans to gift the states Queen variety of pineapples, to Bangladesh's prime minister, Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma, said here on Friday he would be sending Meghalaya spices, turmeric and organic products as his return gifts.

'My special thanks to Her Excellency, Sheikh Hasina Ji, Honble Prime Minister of Bangladesh for sending us 300kgs of their best Haribhanga mangoes as a goodwill gesture to the State of Meghalaya. I will be sending Meghalaya spices, turmeric and organic products in return,' Conrad told PTI on the sidelines of a program here.

Sangma, who described the mangoes as 'very good', said while he took home 5 kgs of the choice delicacy from the neighbouring country, the rest was being distributed among his colleagues and senior officials.

Both Tripura and Meghalaya chief ministers received gifts of 300 kgs of mangoes from Sheikh Hasina delivered by her envoys. The Haribhanga variety of mangoes, generally grown in Rangpur district of Bangladesh, are well known for their aroma and sweetness and command a high price in international markets.

Tripura will return the favour with a gift of pineapples, whose consignment will weigh a little more than double the weight of packets of the famous 'Haribhanga' mangoes which Sheikh Hasina sent on Saturday.

Deb plans to send 'some 100 packets of queen pineapples weighing 650 kgs would be sent to the Indian High Commission in Dhaka to be handed over to Bangladesh Prime Minister', an official in the Chief Ministers office said.

The pineapples which are being gifted were collected from Ampi block in Gomati district, famous for growing the state fruit, officials said.

Top Meghalaya officials said the state is likely to send a huge consignment of organic honey, Lakadong turmeric, organic tea among other products.

Meghalaya produces the Lakadong variety of turmeric, which is reputed to have the highest Curcumin content among turmeric varieties, As the name suggests it grown in Lakadong area of West Jaintia Hills district.

The state also produces a rich variety of highland tea and is famous for producing organic tea and other spices which also include honey which is being produced across the state.

Besides having a common border with Bangladesh, both states have played a role in Bangladeshs liberation war in 1971.

Tripura played host to over 1.4 million refugees from Bangladesh in 1971, outnumbering its own population at the time. Since the election of Sheikh Hasina's government, Bangladesh has made special efforts to connect with the Northeastern state increasing land, rail, and energy connectivity with Tripura.

Meghalaya too hosted over 6 lakh refugees from Bangladesh in the run up to the liberation war and was the chosen site for several training camps for Bangladesh's 'Mukti Bahini'.

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