BY SUMI KHAN
Dhaka, Nov 14 (IANS) Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and her Indian counterpart Narendra Modi will hold a summit meeting virtually in the third week of December, possibly on December 16-17, a Bangladesh Foreign Ministry official told IANS on Saturday.
Bangladesh has also invited Modi to visit on March 26 to jointly celebrate its Independence Day.
There are indications from both sides that he will visit Bangladesh in person if the Covid-19 situation improves, the senior official, who was speaking on the condition of anonymity, told IANS.
The Indian Prime Minister has also informed Bangladesh that his government is working with all stakeholders in India for the conclusion of the Teesta water sharing agreement at the soonest, according to a 53-point joint statement that termed the relations between the two countries as “a bond transcending strategic relationship”.
Indian High Commissioner to Bangladesh, Vikram Doraiswami has assured that the planned virtual summit in December is not being seen as a substitute for the personal visit by Modi.
He has also conveyed his country’s commitment to finding mutually acceptable solutions to all the issues with Bangladesh.
“Let me stress that Bangladesh is, was and will always be a very special partner of India,” he said during his first meeting with journalists, while adding that the world sees Bangladesh with new respect.
He said they do their best to live up to the expectations of both Prime Ministers.
Bangladesh Foreign Minister Dr A.K. Abdul Momen told IANS that they had invited the Indian Prime Minister for the March program and New Delhi has agreed.
Noting that the two countries set an example showing the height of leadership maturity, he reiterated that India is the closest neighbor and friend of Bangladesh as the two countries share a historic bonding.
“It’s (the bilateral relationship) solid and we’re passing through a golden chapter in our relations.”
Bangladesh and India will chart out plans to take the rock-solid and historic Dhaka-Delhi relations to the next level, expanding areas of cooperation between the two countries with a number of engagements in December.
Abdul Momen also indicated the signing of bilateral agreements at the summit.
To that end, Foreign Secretary Masud Bin Momen will visit New Delhi in the second week of December for consultations ahead of the summit as the two countries have vast issues to discuss, the senior official told IANS.
Both sides hope to add more success stories like peaceful settlement of land and maritime boundary issues, he said.
The two countries are giving emphasis on enhancing trade and commerce through utilising river and road communication, exploring opportunities in blue economy and other areas.
On November 5, an MoU was signed between the Serum Institute of India and Beximco Pharma of Bangladesh for priority delivery of 30 million doses of Covid-19 vaccine to Bangladesh.
Bangladesh and India are in talks to hold a Water Resources Secretary-level meeting in December before the Minister-level talks between the two countries on water issues, officials said.
The two countries have expressed optimism on holding a Joint Rivers Commission (JRC) meeting this year to discuss water sharing of common rivers.
In October last year, Hasina had visited India and held talks with her counterpart.
BY SUMI KHAN