External Affairs Minister Dr S. Jaishankar arrived in Bangladesh on Thursday, 28th of April to hold held high-level talks with his counterpart Dr A.K. Abdul Momen. Jaishankar was received at the airport by Bangladesh’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and other officials.
The high-level visit which began on the 28th of April is expected to cover two countries, Bangladesh and Bhutan. Dhaka is the first stop in this visit undertaken by Mr Jaishankar, along with top Indian diplomats including the Foreign Secretary-designate Vinay Mohan Kwatra. Dr Jaishankar, who arrived here on Thursday on a brief official visit, handed over an invitation to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on her Indian counterpart Narendra Modi’s behalf to visit New Delhi. Notably, this is Jaishankar’s first visit to Bangladesh, since March 2021.
Jaishankar’s visit to Bangladesh can be seen in the context of the commemoration of 50 years of the establishment of diplomatic ties between India and Bangladesh, an official statement said on Wednesday.
Dr Jaishankar later tweeted, “Thank Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina for her warm reception. Conveyed personal greetings of PM @narendramodi. Our bilateral relations are moving from strength to strength under the guidance of the two leaders.”
During the meeting, Prime Minister Hasina said that the two countries have to increase the connectivity further, her press secretary Ihsanul Karim told PTI. She told Jaishankar that enhanced connectivity between the two countries was necessary for mutual benefit while it would particularly benefit India’s northeastern region in using Bangladesh’s southeastern Chittagong port, Karim said. PM Hasina said, “If the connectivity is increased, the Indian northeastern states -like Assam and Tripura- can have access to the seaport in Chattogram.”
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) of Bangladesh in a statement said that during the talks, the two sides had “emphasised promoting trade, commerce and connectivity, especially in the light of supply chain disruption resulting from COVID-19 restrictions and the recent conflict in Ukraine”. The visit comes months after President Ram Nath Kovind paid a visit to Dhaka for the Vijay Divas celebrations, last December. It is understood that PM Hasina is likely to visit India before the end of summer.
The Press Statement by the MEA reported that Mr Jaishankar said that he is “very encouraged to see that decisions taken by our leaders last year to commemorate Maitree Diwas in 18 capitals apart from Dhaka and New Delhi, the establishment of the first Bangabandhu Chair in India, the Suborno Jayanti Scholarships for students from Bangladesh, and the Bangabandhu-Bapu Digital Exhibition have all been implemented. These are all in keeping with the spirit of solidarity between us which we hope to pass on to the younger generations.”
Mr Jaishankar is scheduled to leave for Bhutan on Friday.