Indian PM Modi Photograph:( ANI )
External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar will be in Bangladesh on a daylong trip on Thursday ahead of the Indian leader's visit.
India's External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar will fly to Bangladesh on a daylong visit on Thursday to finalise details of the trip of Prime Minister Narendra Modi later this month, as the two countries mark 50 years of diplomatic relations this year.
Bangladesh, which is also set to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Independence, looks forward to Modi's visit, the country's junior foreign minister has said.
Modi's visit, planned for March 26-27, will be his first trip abroad in more than a year.
The Indian prime minister and his Bangladeshi counterpart, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, had held a virtual summit on December 17, during which he described the South Asian neighbour a "'pillar of India’s Neighbourhood First policy."
On Thursday, Jaishankar will hold talks with his Bangladeshi counterpart AK Abdul Momen on water sharing, trade, borders, connectivity and other bilateral issues. Multiple sources said the two sides would discuss the necessary steps to further strengthen bilateral ties through Modi's visit.
Jaishankar will also call on Prime Minister Hasina.
The Indian minister is expected to arrive in Dhaka by a special aircraft at 10am on Thursday and will leave the same day.
He will attend a joint media briefing after talks with Momen at the state guesthouse Padma.
"There are always some expectations centering all the visits, or least to take forward the issues through discussions,"' Bangladesh State Minister for Foreign Affairs M Shahriar Alam told reporters on Tuesday, adding that they keep deliverables for the big visit.
Asked about the agenda of the meeting, Alam said they will discuss connectivity, trade and regional cooperation.
Noting that the Covid-19 pandemic has not only ‘’created health emergencies but also economic emergency,'' Alam said Jaishankar and Momen will discuss ways to remove barriers to export and import activities.
The two prime ministers had decided to conduct a joint feasibility study for a comprehensive economic partnership agreement. Dhaka will urge it to be started soon, said the minister.
‘‘We are not at all worried about what another country might think when we get closer to one country,’’ he said when asked if China would be happy with the economic partnership.
"Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's diplomacy has long since allayed this fear. I don't think anyone should have any doubts. Neither India nor China,’’ he added.
"We want to discuss the Teesta [water sharing], the other six rivers, the Rahimpur canal and other unresolved issues," a Bangladeshi foreign ministry official told WION on condition of anonymity. He said the issue of Teesta would naturally come up for discussion. Bangladesh hopes that the agreement will be signed soon as promised in 2011.
Bangladesh wants to establish itself as a 'connectivity hub' in the region and India can take advantage of it, another Bangladeshi official told WION. He said Bangladesh wants to be connected to the India-Myanmar-Thailand trilateral highway. The two sides would also discuss Dhaka's proposal in this regard. Bangladesh has also proposed five new routes for connectivity with Nepal and Bhutan through India, which are under consideration by New Delhi.
There is also a possibility of discussing Rohingya migrants, maritime economy and other issues, he added.
There are still many unresolved issues between Bangladesh and India. Dhaka wants to discuss this issue seriously during PM Modi's visit, the minister said.