Eastern Times, Dhaka, 25 March: Prime Minister Narendra Modi is scheduled to arrive in Dhaka on Today (Friday) morning on a two-day state visit, aiming to seize the opportunities that lie ahead for both Bangladesh and India.
The trip is treated by both sides with a “very special significance” which they say will serve to highlight the celebration of “unique and rock-solid” bilateral relations.
Prime Minister Modi is going to be the key attraction of the ongoing twin mega celebrations – birth centenary of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and 50 years of Bangladesh’s independence.
The two “time-tested” friendly countries plan for taking the historical relations to a new height with focus on all areas of cooperation.
Bangladesh and India are likely to sign a range of bilateral instruments in the areas of health, railway connectivity, border development, and startups.
The two countries are looking at a comprehensive trade related agreement and will continue discussions on a comprehensive economic partnership.
Briefing reporters at the Foreign Service Academy on March 24, Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen said the biggest attraction is “Mujib Borsho” and 50 years of Bangladesh’s Independence and the visit will mainly focus on the joint celebrations.
He said they are still in negotiations and a number of MoUs have been finalised on major issues. “I can’t tell the exact number at this moment.”
Responding to a question on the Teesta issue, the foreign minister said the two countries agreed on signing the Teesta water sharing deal in 2011 but it could not be signed, delivered and implemented. “You know the reason.”
He said they always remain hopeful that the Teesta deal will be signed one day.
During the virtual summit in December last year, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina highlighted the need for early signing of an interim agreement for sharing the Teesta waters, as agreed upon by both the governments in 2011.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi reiterated India’s sincere commitment and continued efforts of the government of India to that end.
Foreign Minister Dr Momen said they are working to make the relations stronger saying any issue can be resolved if the relations remain good.
He said Bangladesh and India share 54 common rivers and they are now discussing six major rivers apart from Teesta.
Bangladesh and India stressed the need for early conclusion of Framework of Interim Agreement on sharing of waters of six joint rivers, namely, Manu, Muhuri, Khowai, Gumti, dharla and Dudhkumar.
Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina will receive her Indian counterpart Modi at the VVIP tarmac of Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport (HSIA) upon his arrival by a special flight in the morning. The Indian Prime Minister will receive 19 gun salutes and will be given the guard of honour.
He will visit National Martyrs’ Memorial at Savar and Bangabandhu Memorial Museum at Dhanmondi in the city to pay tributes to Liberation War martyrs and Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.
Modi will place wreaths and plant a sapling at the National Martyrs’ Memorial and will sign the visitors’ book there.
He will also place wreaths on the portrait of Bangabandhu at Bangabandhu Memorial Museum and sign the visitors’ book there.
The Indian Prime Minister will attend the National Parade Ground program on Friday afternoon. President Abdul Hamid and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, among others, will join.
He will jointly inaugurate Bangabandhu-Bapu Museum and attend a state banquet preceded by a cultural program hosted by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.
Modi will have a one-to-one meeting with his Bangladesh counterpart and hold bilateral talks at the Prime Minister’s Office. He will also meet President Abdul Hamid at Bangabhaban.
The Indian prime minister is scheduled to visit Orakandi temple and Jeshoreshawri temple by helicopter, according to his tentative program schedule.
The Indian prime minister is scheduled to leave Dhaka on Saturday evening.
Bangabandhu and Gandhi Peace Prize
The government of Bangladesh acknowledged with deep gratitude the decision of the government of India to confer the Gandhi Peace Prize 2020 on Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, posthumously for the first time.
“It’s an honour for Bangladesh and its people for the Father of the Nation to be bestowed with this prestigious award,” said the Ministry of Foreign Affairs here.
The Gandhi Peace Prize recognises the immense and unparalleled contribution of Bangabandhu in inspiring the liberation of Bangladesh, bringing stability to a nation born out of strife, laying the foundation for the close and fraternal relations between India and Bangladesh, and promoting peace and non-violence in the Indian subcontinent.
Ahead of his visit to Bangladesh, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said Bangabandhu’s vision continues to light the Bangladesh-India friendship.
“I had the privilege of honouring his memory during my previous Bangladesh visit,” he tweeted.
Modi said he will again pay homage to Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, alongside Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, during the ongoing Mujib Borsho celebrations.
Modi has said that Bangabandhu was a champion of human rights and freedom, and is a hero to Indians as well.
He also said that the legacy and inspiration of Bangabandhu has made the heritage of both countries more comprehensive and deep-rooted, and that the path shown by Bangabandhu has laid a strong foundation for the partnership, progress and prosperity of both countries over the last decade.
As Bangladesh celebrates Mujib Borsho, India said it is honoured to be commemorating his legacy jointly with the government of Bangladesh and its people.
The jury for Gandhi Peace Prize is chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and comprises two ex-officio members, namely the chief justice of India and leader of the single largest opposition party in Lok Sabha, according to the Press Information Bureau of India.
The jury unanimously decided to select Bangabandhu as the recipient of the Gandhi Peace Prize for the year 2020, in recognition of his outstanding contributions towards social, economic and political transformation through non-violent and other Gandhian methods.
The government of Bangladesh said the honour assumes special significance on the 50th year of Bangladesh’s independence when the country is on the verge of becoming a developing country, through political, economic and social transformation, the foundations of which were laid by Bangabandhu.
The award is also a befitting tribute to the ever-deepening Bangladesh-India relations in a year when both countries are jointly celebrating the golden jubilee of Bangladesh’s Independence, 50 years of diplomatic relations and the birth centenary of Bangabandhu, MoFA said.
As Bangladesh commemorates the legacy of Bangabandhu, the award comes as a recognition of the life long struggle of this enduring leader to ensure the freedom, rights, aspirations and emancipation of his people and towards building a world free from hunger, poverty and exploitation, Bangladesh says.
On the occasion, the people of Bangladesh pay homage to the two great leaders Bapuji and Bangabandhu, whose values and ideals remain even more relevant today for building a world of peace, free from oppression, injustice and deprivation.