External affairs minister S Jaishankar. (File photo)
External affairs minister S Jaishankar. (File photo)

EAM Jaishankar to travel to Bangladesh tomorrow to prepare for PM Modi’s visit

Jaishankar, who is visiting at the invitation of his Bangladeshi counterpart AK Abdul Momen, will call on Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina during the day-long trip, the external affairs ministry said on Wednesday. He will also hold talks with Momen
By HT Correspondent | Edited by Zara Khan
PUBLISHED ON MAR 03, 2021 05:00 PM IST

External affairs minister S Jaishankar will visit Bangladesh on Thursday to prepare the grounds for Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s trip to the neighbouring country later this month.

Jaishankar, who is visiting at the invitation of his Bangladeshi counterpart AK Abdul Momen, will call on Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina during the day-long trip, the external affairs ministry said on Wednesday. He will also hold talks with Momen.

The visit follows on the virtual summit between the two countries on December 17 and will “provide an opportunity to take stock of the progress in bilateral relations”, the ministry said.

Modi is set to visit Bangladesh to participate in celebrations on March 26 marking 50 years of the country’s independence and the establishment of diplomatic relations. This will be his first foreign visit since the Covid-19 outbreak. Modi was earlier scheduled to visit Dhaka in March last year, but the trip was called off because of the pandemic.

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Jaishankar’s talks with Momen are expected to review bilateral ties and focus on regional and international developments, including the situation in Myanmar following the February 1 coup and its impact on efforts to repatriate Rohingya refugees to Rakhine state, people familiar with developments said on condition of anonymity.

India has worked to remove irritants in ties with Bangladesh over the Citizenship (Amendment) Act and sped up work on several connectivity and transit projects. Foreign secretary Harsh Shringla made his first foreign visit amid the pandemic to Dhaka in August last year and handed over a personal message from Modi to Hasina.

During the virtual summit with Hasina on December 17, Modi described Bangladesh as an important pillar of India’s “Neighbourhood First” policy.

The two sides signed seven agreements at the summit in areas ranging from hydrocarbons to agriculture and revived a cross-border railway line that was snapped 55 years ago, giving a boost to connectivity initiatives and energy cooperation.

Bangladesh foreign secretary Masud Bin Momen visited India in January for foreign office consultations and India has provided two million doses of the Covishield vaccine to Bangladesh under the “Vaccine Maitri” initiative.

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