By Sumi Khan
Dhaka, Dec 4 (IANS) The Foreign Secretary of India, Harsh Vardhan Shringla, will visit Dhaka on December 7-8 to discuss a host of bilateral issues, including the preparations for Indian President Ram Nath Kovind’s first visit to Bangladesh from December 15-17.
Bangladesh is celebrating the golden jubilee of its Independence and the birth centenary of Father of the Nation, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, as well as 50 years of diplomatic ties between Dhaka and Delhi.
Shringla, who was earlier India’s High Commissioner in Dhaka, is expected to hold a courtesy meeting with Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina during which he is likely to convey a ‘special message’ from Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
The visit is also aimed at strengthening the ties between the two countries. This will be Shringla’s third visit to Bangladesh after he took charge as the Foreign Secretary, sources said, adding that Shringla’s trip will focus on the preparation of Kovind’s itinerary in Dhaka.
He will also meet Foreign Minister A.K. Abdul Momen and his counterpart Masud Bin Momen when a host of issues, including economic cooperation, cross-border projects, health cooperation as well as regional developments, will come up for discussion.
The two countries are also going to commemorate December 6 as ‘Maitri Diwas’ (Friendship Day), to mark India’s recognition of Bangladesh in 1971. Ten days before the liberation of Bangladesh, India had recognised Bangladesh on December 6, 1971. India was one of the first countries to establish bilateral ties with Bangladesh.
The ‘Maitri Diwas’ is being commemorated in 18 countries around the world apart from Dhaka and Delhi. These countries are Belgium, Canada, Egypt, Indonesia, Russia, Qatar, Singapore, the UK, Australia, France, Japan, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Switzerland, Thailand, the UAE, and the US.
In March this year, Narendra Modi had made a state visit to Bangladesh to join the celebrations of the golden jubilee of Bangladesh’s independence, the birth centenary of Mujibur Rahman, and 50 years of establishment of diplomatic relations between India and Bangladesh.
The visit symbolised the partnership of half-a-century between Bangladesh and India that has strengthened, matured, and evolved as a model for bilateral relations for the entire region.