Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s long-awaited four day visit to India has begun, but unusually, she will not be accompanied by Dr. AK Abdul Momen, the country’s foreign minister.
Officially, Bangladesh has said that Dr. Momen is indisposed. Still, it was only yesterday that he met the media in Dhaka and declared that the two countries would sign seven agreements, raising eyebrows. Professor Gowher Rizvi, Sheikh Hasina’s advisor on international affairs, and minister of state, Shariyar Alam, are part of the delegation.
This is a significant visit as Sheikh Hasina and her late father, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, have been close friends of India. Relations between the two countries have rarely been better, reflected in the high trade figures and close people-to-people ties. India and Bangladesh share similar views on terrorism and disruptive radicalism.
There will be a solid economic component this time. Sheikh Hasina will address a business meeting. The Adanis is possibly meeting her separately. Besides her meetings with President Draupadi Murmu, Vice President Jagmeet Dhankar, and Prime Minister Narendra Modi, she will visit the Nizamuddin Dargah and Ajmersharif. Among those calling on her will be external affairs minister S. Jaishankar and social worker Kailash Satyarthi, awarded the Nobel Prize in Peace.
Several agreements are likely. They include collaborating scientific institutes of both countries, deals on the waters of the Kushiara river, railway projects, and the training of judicial service members. There should be an agreement on ICT between Prasar Bharati and Bangladesh TV. Several agreements on defense issues will also be taken up during the discussion.
A big moment will be the announcement of scholarships for descendants of Indian armed forces personnel who gave their lives during the Bangladesh war or were seriously injured. Initially, Bangladesh will announce 200 scholarships for the descendant’s day after tomorrow afternoon.