September 2020 \ News \ NEIGHBOURS—BANGLADESH
Indian Foreign Secretary calls on Bangladesh PM

Indian Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla ...

By Sumi Khan

Indian Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla has met Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in Dhaka. He conveyed Delhi’s message that the Government of India has special relations with Dhaka, and will continue to be its development partner. Mr Shringla called on PM Hasina at her official residence Gono Bhaban in August and discussed post-Covid-19 economic recovery and assistance. PM Hasina appreciated the visit, adding she was happy that Prime Minister Narendra Modi sent a top official to convey the message. Besides, the Bangladesh premier also appreciated the introduction of 10 Indian locomotives for transport of goods during the pandemic, an official told IANS. At the Hasina-Shringla meeting, officials said India proposed an air travel bubble, meaning that flights will operate only between India and Bangladesh during the pandemic for medical patients and businesses.

They also discussed a possible virtual meeting of the Joint Consultative Commission, a Foreign Ministerial level meeting of the two countries. The meeting also touched upon the connectivity and cooperation in post-Covid-19 economic recovery, assistance, including therapeutic and in vaccine, celebration of Mujib Borsho and the 50th year anniversary of Bangladesh’s independence and Bangladesh-India diplomatic relations in 2021, said officials. “India has special and close relations with Bangladesh. Therefore, the foreign secretary has come to meet the prime minister with this message in an unofficial visit even during this pandemic,” Indian High Commissioner to Bangladesh Riva Ganguly Das told the media. An Indian diplomat said it was an “unofficial” visit by Foreign Secretary Shringla, who is a former Indian High Commissioner to Bangladesh. After joining as the Indian Foreign Secretary in January, he came to Dhaka in early March this year ahead of Mr Modi’s scheduled visit to Dhaka to attend the inaugural of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman’s birth centenary. Mr Modi, however, could not come due to the pandemic.

Tags: Bangladesh