Bangladesh PM Sheikh Hasina expected to visit India in early September
Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is expected to visit India in early September for a bilateral visit at the invitation of her Indian counterpart Narendra Modi, her spokesman said on Friday, a day after the Indian envoy here called on her and delivered the official invitation letter for a "substantive summit."
Indian High Commissioner in Dhaka Vikram K Doraiswami on Thursday handed over a letter from Prime Minister Modi to premier Hasina officially inviting her to visit New Delhi.
He (envoy) called on her and delivered the letter late on Thursday, a PMO spokesman told PTI.
Bangladesh Prime Minister's Press Secretary Ihsanul Karim said she might visit the Indian capital in early September and there would be a ministerial-level meeting between the two countries days before her visit.
HC @VDoraiswami called on Hon'ble Prime Minister of Bangladesh, H.E Sheikh Hasina today at Jatiyo Shangsad. A letter from PM @narendramodi was delivered, extending warm greetings, thanking her for gifting mangoes and inviting Hon'ble Prime Minister to visit New Delhi soon," the Indian High Commission in Dhaka tweeted on Thursday.
"Her Excellency was briefed on preparations for a substantive summit," it added.
The press secretary's remarks on the possible dates of the visit came four days after Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen said Hasina was expected to visit New Delhi in early September in line with the invitation from her Indian counterpart Modi.
Karim said after receiving the letter from the Indian high commissioner, Hasina proposed joint initiatives to dredge the common rivers for mutual benefit as Bangladesh is crisscrossed by 54 major rivers mostly originating from India.
Bangladesh witnessed major flooding in its northeastern and northern regions this year, killing nearly 50 people.
Karim said the premier expressed concerns over the havoc caused by the recent floods in Assam, Meghalaya and Arunachal Pradesh.
The PMO spokesman said Hasina told Doraiswami that a water conservatory could be ensured through river dredging on a regular basis and conveyed Dhaka's willingness to work with India to overcome any natural disasters like floods.
In reply, the Indian high commissioner said that his country was ready as well to assist the flood victims in Bangladesh, the spokesman said.
Doraiswami also greeted the premier for the successful completion of the Padma Bridge, Bangladesh's longest, entirely built with domestic funding. The structure is set to be opened on Saturday, he said.
Doraiswami said the newly-constructed bridge would connect both the countries directly and would enhance connectivity in the region.
Hasina made her last visit to India in 2019.
President Ram Nath Kovind visited Dhaka in 2021 coinciding with the golden jubilee of the country's 1971 independence and birth centenary celebrations of its founder Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.
Foreign Minister Momen earlier said the timeline of Hasina's visit was proposed during his talks with his Indian counterpart S Jaishankar last week at the Joint Consultative Commission (JCC) meeting in Delhi.
He said Dhaka and New Delhi decided to implement the bilateral decisions ahead of Hasina's India visit while Dhaka expected the much-awaited Joint River Commission (JRC) meeting to be held by then.
Momen and Jaishankar co-chaired the 7th round of JCC in New Delhi on Sunday.
Commenting on the JCC meeting, Momen said Dhaka had raised all outstanding issues with New Delhi including water sharing.
We had a very good meeting, he said, adding that the Indian side showed a good response to water management of trans-boundary streams between the two countries.