A high-level delegation of leaders of Bangladesh’s ruling Awami League landed in New Delhi on Sunday (6 August) to hold discussions with the BJP and government leaders on a range of issues aimed at strengthening ties between the two parties and countries.
The visit comes a month before Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s scheduled visit to India to attend the G-20 summit scheduled for 9 and 10 September.
The Awami League delegation, headed by party praesidium member and Agriculture Minister Muhammad Abdur Razzaque, includes party joint general secretary and information and broadcasting minister Hasan Mahmud, organising secretary Sujit Roy Nandi, and two women MPs — Aroma Dutta and Marina Jahan.
The delegation has come to India at the invitation of the BJP as part of the latter’s ‘Know The BJP’ initiative that aims to familiarise prominent politicians and civil society leaders from other countries with the BJP and dispel myths about the saffron party.
The meeting with Nadda at the latter’s residence lasted for over 90 minutes. The visitors also had a formal meeting at the national BJP headquarters with party general secretary Vinod Tawde and other senior functionaries.
The delegation also met External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar at the Parliament House annexe and discussed ways to enhance bilateral ties as well as South Asian affairs.
The Bangladeshi delegation will meet Commerce Minister Piyush Goel, Agriculture Minister Narendra Tomar and I&B Minister Anurag Thakur over Tuesday and Wednesday (8 and 9 August).
The two main talking points between the Indian and Bangladeshi leaders are bilateral relations and measures to curb Islamic fundamentalism.
According to BJP sources, the topics discussed during Nadda’s meeting with the visitors from Bangladesh included political stability in the region, curbing militancy, Bangladesh’s economic development and Indo-Bangla ties.
“The BJP has a historic relation with the Awami League for a long time and we want to carry forward our relations by strengthening party-level contacts in the days to come,” Nadda was quoted as saying to the Awami League delegation.
The two sides noted that ties between the two countries have reached a “historic high” under the leaderships of Prime Ministers Modi and Sheikh Hasina.
Nadda put on record the fact that long-standing land and maritime boundary disputes between the two countries and the crisis in India’s northeastern states were addressed during the tenure of the two prime ministers.
The BJP president thanked the “proactive initiative” of the Awami League government for helping solve the insurgency in North East India by denying militants from that region safe havens in Bangladesh and flushing them out of that country.
The Awami League leaders told Nadda on the socio-economic progress made by their country. Nadda said that Bangladesh’s achievements in those sectors are worthy of emulation by India and other countries of the region.
The delegation will meet leaders from BJP’s Yuva Morcha and Mahila Morcha. It will be taken to the Prime Minister’s Museum and the war memorial, which has plaques in memory of those who died during the Bangladesh Liberation War of 1971.
The visit by the Awami League delegation assumes significance because of the parliamentary elections in Bangladesh in January next year.
Bangladesh has come under criticism from US and other western countries for the tough measures it has adopted against the Islamist Bangladesh Nationalist Party and its hardline Islamic allies.
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