Eastern Times Correspondent, Dhaka, 16 February : India and Bangladesh would hold foreign minister-level official talks on March 4 in Dhaka. Indian external affairs minister S Jaishankar ‘will be in Dhaka on March 4’ for a meeting with Bangladesh foreign minister AK Abdul Momen, according to Indian sources in New Delhi.
A Bangladesh diplomat in New Delhi confirmed the schedule of the visit of the Indian minister.
The ministers are likely to focus on economic issues, including bilateral trade with removing various tariff and no-tariff barriers, anti-dumping and anti-circumvention duties imposed by India on Bangladeshi export products, and cooperation in water sector, including sharing of water of common rivers.
Bangladesh’s inclusion in the India-Myanmar-Thailand trilateral highway, extension of transit facilities for Bangladesh to Nepal and Bhutan through India for trading goods and services with the two Himalayan countries and security issues, including an end to killing along the border, will also be discussed in the meeting.
The two sides are also likely to assess modalities for streamlining the process of granting approval of projects under the LOCs, sourcing of raw materials, fulfilling the banking requirements and addressing the inconsistency in calculation of grace period for repayment of the loans.
In the past 10 years, the two countries signed memorandums of understandings, opening four lines of credit of $ 8 billion, mostly loan, by India to Bangladesh for implementing different projects and procurement in the areas of connectivity for improving networks of roads, railway, inland waterways, ports, shipping, power and energy, telecommunications, defence, ICT, education and health.
The meeting of the two ministers would set the grounds for the prime-minister level talks between the two countries set for March 27 in Dhaka.
The two countries are likely to hold separate talks at the level of secretaries of the commerce, home and water ministries before the foreign minister-level talks.
It would be the second visit for Jaishankar to Bangladesh as minister. He last visited Dhaka in August 2019.