Foreign secretary Vinay Kwatra to travel to Dhaka this week | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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Foreign secretary Vinay Kwatra to travel to Dhaka this week

May 07, 2024 01:29 PM IST

Kwatra will be the second senior Indian official to visit Bangladesh since Hasina returned to power for a record fifth term after the general election in early January

Foreign secretary Vinay Kwatra is set visit to Bangladesh this week to take stock of bilateral ties and prepare the grounds for a trip to New Delhi by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, people familiar with the matter said on Tuesday.

Foreign Secretary Vinay Mohan Kwatra. (PTI File Photo)
Foreign Secretary Vinay Mohan Kwatra. (PTI File Photo)

Kwatra was earlier expected to visit Dhaka on April 20, but the trip was called off at the last moment due to unspecified reasons. He is now expected to go to Dhaka on Wednesday and hold several meetings the following day, the people said on condition of anonymity.

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Besides holding talks with his Bangladesh counterpart Masud Bin Momen, Kwatra is expected to meet foreign minister Hasan Mahmud and Prime Minister Hasina to reiterate the invitation for her to visit India, the people said.

Hasina could become the first foreign leader to make a bilateral visit to India following the conclusion of the election process in early June. It is understood that she will come to India before travelling to China by July.

However, it is not yet clear whether the Bangladesh premier will travel to New Delhi by June or early July. The Indian premier is expected to make a brief visit to Italy for the outreach session of the G7 Summit around June 14, while Hasina is unlikely to travel out of Bangladesh during the Eid-ul-Azha holidays, which are expected to begin on June 17.

Kwatra will be the second senior Indian official to visit Bangladesh since Hasina returned to power for a record fifth term after the general election in early January. National Security Adviser Ajit Doval made an unannounced visit to Dhaka in early February, followed closely by a trip to India by the Bangladesh foreign minister.

“There is a standing invitation for the Bangladesh prime minister to visit India and the foreign secretary’s visit to Dhaka will help firm up plans for the visit,” one of the people cited above said.

Besides bilateral relations and development cooperation, Kwatra’s meetings in Dhaka are expected to take in the rapidly deteriorating situation in Myanmar, where the junta has suffered a string of defeats at the hands of resistance forces.

There is growing concern in Dhaka about the situation along Bangladesh’s border with Myanmar’s Rakhine state, where resistance forces have made numerous gains. The Arakan Army overran the headquarters of security forces at Maungdaw town in Rakhine state on May 3 and nearly 200 Myanmarese border guards crossed over to Bangladesh over the weekend.

The situation in Myanmar has thrown up shared security challenges for India and Bangladesh, and the two countries recently coordinated in pulling their diplomats out of Sittwe town.

The resistance forces have captured key border trade and crossing points on the frontiers with India and Bangladesh, and they have also overrun military bases in many areas along the borders with both countries, which are now dealing with Myanmarese troops entering their territories to escape the fighting.

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