Image Source : MEA PM Modi with Bangladesh PM Sheikh Hasina at Hyderabad House.

New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi held a bilateral meeting with his Bangladeshi counterpart Sheikh Hasina at the Hyderabad House on Saturday, after giving her a ceremonial welcome at the Rashtrapati Bhavan earlier in the day. PM Modi personally welcomed the Bangladeshi premier, who is the first foreign leader to visit India after the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) formed the government for the third consecutive time.

Earlier today, Hasina was greeted by PM Modi at the presidential residence in the national capital and was accorded a ceremonial welcome upon her arrival. She and PM Modi met ministers and delegates from both countries at the venue, after which she left for Rajghat to pay respects to Mahatma Gandhi.

Hasina is scheduled to hold a tete-a-tete meeting with PM Modi later in the day followed by delegation-level talks. Additionally, discussions on a potential trade pact are expected. Over the past decade, numerous cross-border initiatives have been launched as part of a robust regional partnership plan, as per reports.

 

According to the Ministry of External Affairs, the two leaders have met each other at least ten times since 2019. Hasina was also among seven top leaders from the Indian Ocean Region (IOR) and Indian neighbourhood who attended the swearing-in ceremony of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his council of ministers at the Rashtrapati Bhavan on June 9. Her visit comes amid an upswing in the bilateral relations between India and Bangladesh in the last few years.

Both leaders will witness the signing ceremony of Memorandums of Understanding (MoU) and give their press statements later in the day. Hasina will also attend a banquet hosted by PM Modi in her honour at the Hyderabad House. The Bangladeshi Prime Minister will also call on President Droupadi Murmu and Vice President Jagdeep Dhankar later in the day.

External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar called on Hasina on Friday evening. “Her State visit to India underlines our close and abiding ties. Appreciate her guidance on the further development of our special partnership,” he said after the meeting.

India-Bangladesh ties

India, under its “Neighbourhood First” policy, has always considered Bangladesh an important partner and cooperation extends to areas of security, trade, commerce, energy, connectivity, science and technology, defence and maritime affairs among others.

In the connectivity sector, India and Bangladesh are making stride through the Maitri Setu bridge over river Feni in Tripura and the Chilahati-Haldibari rail link. Bangladesh is India’s largest development partner with nearly one-fourth of New Delhi’s commitment under the Line of Credit has been made to that country.

Talking about the trade relations between the two countries, Bangladesh is India’s biggest trading partner in South Asia while India is the second biggest trading partner of Bangladesh in the Asian continent. Apart from that, India is Bangladesh’s largest export destination in Asia. As of year 2022-23, Bangladeshi exports to India stood at about $2 billion. Moreover, the bilateral trade between both countries in 2022-23 was reported to be at $15.9 billion.

(with agency inputs)

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