‘May’ be a red-letter month for Indo-Bangla ties? | delhi | Hindustan Times
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‘May’ be a red-letter month for Indo-Bangla ties?

delhi Updated: Apr 22, 2012 23:45 IST
Saubhadra Chatterji
Saubhadra Chatterji
Hindustan Times
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The UPA government is eyeing the historically-important month of May for a major cultural diplomatic initiative with Dhaka, so the momentum in bilateral relations between the two countries could be sustained.

Rabindranath Tagore's birth anniversary (May 8) and the 90th anniversary of the publication of Kaji Nazrul Islam's famous poem - Bidrohi - in the latter part of the month, will be two occasions through which New Delhi will try to take its diplomatic initiative forward with the key neighbouring country.

Finance minister Pranab Mukherjee is set to visit Dhaka on May 6 for the final lap of Tagore's 150th birth anniversary celebrations. During his day-long visit, Mukherjee will also have an exclusive meeting with Bangladesh premier Sheikh Hasina. The talks assume significance in light of the fact that this will be the first major visit of an Indian minister - no less than Mukherjee, the de facto number two in the cabinet, after the Prime Minister's Bangladesh tour in September 2011.

Soon after Mukherjee's visit to Dhaka, Bangladesh's foreign minister Dipu Moni will come to Delhi to participate in the closing ceremony of Tagore's 150th birth anniversary celebrations. New Delhi is also keen on utilising the 90th anniversary of Bidrohi's publication to give a further push to the cultural ties between the two nations.

Lok Sabha speaker Meira Kumar will travel to Bangladesh on a five-day tour from May 23, soon after parliament's budget session closes on May 22. She will participate in the joint inauguration of the commemorative function of Bidrohi in Dhaka. While Kumar is going to the neighbouring country on an invitation from the Bangladesh speaker, she will also meet the Bangladesh premier and other top ministers and travel to other cities.

Though a section of the UPA wants to ink the long-pending Teesta accord at the earliest, West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee is yet to give the green signal in this regard. New Delhi is also keen on getting transit rights from Bangladesh, which would benefit the north-eastern states.

Dhaka, however, is yet to finalise the process.