Sheikh Hasina meets Congress leaders, invites Sonia Gandhi to Bangladesh
Visiting Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Sunday met Congress president Sonia Gandhi, former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and party leaders Priyanka Gandhi Vadra and Anand Sharma too and discussed matters related to the relations between the two nations.
Hasina, who is on a four-day visit to India, is the longest-serving prime minister of her country. Singh had visited Bangladesh as prime minister in 2011.
The Congress, in a statement, said the meeting took place owing to a “special bond of friendship” between the party and the Awami League, the party Hasina leads.
Hasina recalled “with gratitude India’s support for the Bangladesh Liberation”, the statement by Congress leader Anand Sharma read. She also recalled the special bond that “Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman shared with PM Indira Gandhi”.
The Congress said Gandhi accepted Hasina’s invitation to visit her country for commemoration of the 50th anniversary of Bangladesh’s liberation.
India had backed Bangladesh’s war of liberation from Pakistan in 1971, leading to its formation. The Congress’s Indira Gandhi was PM at the time.
Sheikh Mujibur Rahman headed post-liberation Bangladesh’s first government before being assassinated in 1975 along with most other members of his family. His two daughters, who were abroad at the time, survived. Hasina, the current prime minister, is his eldest daughter.
In a tweet, Priyanka said: “An overdue hug from Sheikh Hasina Ji whom I have been waiting to meet again for a long time. Her strength in overcoming deep personal loss and hardship and fighting for what she believed in with bravery and perseverance is, and always will be a great inspiration for me.”
Former PM Manmohan Singh complemented Hasina for the “impressive economic growth” made by her country, especially social indicators such as health and education.
Sonia Gandhi referred to the historic relationship between Indian National Congress and Awami League and “reaffirmed the commitment of both the parties to strengthen the party to party exchange at leadership level,” the Congress said.
The leaders also discussed topics of mutual interest, including bilateral ties and the economy. Hasina was accompanied by Bangladesh foreign minister Abdul Momen and some of her aides. She also met filmmaker Shyam Benegal, who is due to make a biopic on Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.