Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is set to arrive in India on September 5 for a four-day visit — her first since the start of the pandemic. Sources said an advance team from Dhaka, including foreign ministry and security officials, is in India to discuss the logistics and protocol for the visit.
According to sources, Hasina will be in India between September 5 and 8. She is likely to arrive on September 5 and hold talks with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and other Indian leaders, before heading to Jaipur and Ajmer Sharif. She will return to Dhaka on September 8.
During her visit, Hasina and Modi are expected to jointly inaugurate a “Swadhinata Sarak” from Bangladesh to India through virtual mode.
Trade, connectivity and defence ties are expected to dominate the conversation between the two sides when the leaders meet for bilateral talks on September 6. Besides, border management, river-sharing, and development cooperation will also be part of the discussions, sources said.
While Hasina last visited India in 2019, Modi went to Bangladesh in March last year for the commemoration of 50 years of Bangladesh’s war of liberation and the establishment of diplomatic ties between the two countries.
Officials said India and Bangladesh share bonds of history, language, culture, and a multitude of other commonalities. “The excellent bilateral ties reflect an all-encompassing partnership based on sovereignty, equality, trust, and understanding that goes far beyond a strategic partnership,” an official said.
Meanwhile, ahead of her visit, Hasina said on Thursday that the Hindu community in Bangladesh has the same rights as she has. Interacting with Hindu community leaders, she urged believers of other faiths not to think of themselves as minorities, saying that everyone, irrespective of their religion, will enjoy equal rights in Bangladesh, a Muslim-majority country.
“We want people of all faiths to live with equal rights. You are people of this country, you have equal rights here, you have the same rights as I have,” the Dhaka Tribune newspaper quoted her as saying.
“You would always think that you are the citizens of this country and you will enjoy equal rights,” she said. “We also want to see you in that way. Please don’t undermine yourselves. You were born in this country, you are the citizens of this country,” she said.
Newsletter | Click to get the day’s best explainers in your inbox
Hasina said that during Durga Puja, there are more pandals in Dhaka than in Kolkata.
According to a report in Prothom Aalo newspaper, Hasina lamented that whenever there is an untoward incident, “colours are given to that incident in a way (to portray) that the Hindus have no rights here. And the actions of the government after the incidents don’t get proper attention”.
Hasina said her government and the Awami League don’t believe in undermining people from any religion. “We can say it clearly. Our government is very cautious about it. I can assure you that,” she said.