India, B'desh likely to ink at least 5 MoUs during PM Modi's visit: Foreign Minister

Anisur Rahman
·3-min read

Dhaka, Mar 25 (PTI) India and Bangladesh are expected to sign at least five Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs) during Prime Minister Narendra Modi's two-day visit to the country to attend the celebrations of the golden jubilee of its independence and the birth centenary of ‘Bangabandhu’ Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.

In his first trip to a foreign country since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, Prime Minister Modi will visit Bangladesh from March 26 to 27 during which he will also hold restricted and delegation-level talks with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.

'The number of MoUs could be more or less…but five plus (instruments are likely to be signed),' Bangladesh Foreign Minister Dr A K Abdul Momen told reporters here.

He said the two sides were still in negotiations over the number of MoUs to be signed after Prime Minister Modi's bilateral meeting with his counterpart Hasina on Saturday.

Momen, however, said the Indian prime minister's main objective was to join the celebrations but the two leaders would hold talks wherein all major issues were likely to be discussed.

After his arrival at the Dhaka airport on Friday morning, Modi is scheduled to go straight to the National Martyrs’ Memorial in Savar to pay tributes to the 1971 Liberation War the martyrs.

Shortly afterwards, he will visit the Bangabandhu Memorial Museum at Dhanmondi 32, originally the Bangladesh founder's private residence, to pay homage to his memories.

Later, Modi will join the celebration programme as the guest of honour at the National Parade Square. Bangladesh President Abdul Hamid will be the chief guest at the function, which would be chaired by Prime Minister Hasina.

In the evening, Modi is scheduled to inaugurate the “Bangabandhu-Bapu Museum” jointly with his counterpart at the Bangabandhu International Conference Centre.

He will also attend a state banquet hosted in his honour by Hasina.

On Saturday, Modi will visit the mausoleum of 'Bangabandhu' Sheikh Mujibur Rahman at Tungipara in Gopalganj district, the first Indian dignitary to ever visit the place.

He is also scheduled to visit the Jeshoreshwari and Orkandi temples in southwestern Shatkhira and Gopalganj on Saturday.

In the afternoon, Modi will hold talks with Hasina at the Prime Minister’s Office, where the MoUs are to be signed and a number of projects inaugurated virtually.

Later, he will meet President Md Abdul Hamid at Bangabhaban presidential palace before leaving for New Delhi in the evening.

Modi's visit is taking place at a time Bangladesh is commemorating Mujib Borsho, the birth centenary of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and 50 years of the country's war of liberation. The two countries are also celebrating 50 years of the establishment of diplomatic ties.

Maldives President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih, Nepal President Bidya Devi Bhandari, Sri Lankan Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa and Bhutan Prime Minister Dr Lotay Tshering have already attended the 10-day special programme, which began on March 17, coinciding with Bangabandhu’s birthday.

Several global leaders, including Queen Elizabeth II, Pope Francis, Chinese President Xi Jinping, German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, sent video messages on the occasion.

US Ambassador to Bangladesh Earl Miller is scheduled to read out a letter from President Joe Biden virtually on Friday, at the final grand ceremony at National Parade Square, to be joined by Prime Minister Modi. PTI AR ZH AKJ ZH ZH