Rohingya, Teesta may feature PM’s talks with Modi



Bangladesh and India are expected to review the Rohingya and Teesta issues during Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s
India tour when the two neighbours are likely to ink a number of memorandums of understanding as well, officials familiar with the visit process said today.

“The two leaders, Bangladesh Prime Minister and her Indian counterpart Narendra Modi, may definitely discuss different issues, including the Teesta as well as Rohingyas,” Bangladesh High Commissioner to India Syed Muazzem Ali told BSS as Sheikh Hasina is set to arrive in New Delhi on October 3.

The envoy said the two major issues might be “openly discussed” when the two prime ministers would hold their meeting but “we cannot predict anything until there is any final decision in this regard”.

The Bangladesh premier’s four-day visit, however, is not a bilateral one and rather to attend the India Economic Forum, 2019, which is a chapter of World Economic Forum (WEF).

On the sidelines of the India Economic Forum meet, Ali said, the two countries were likely to sign a number of Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs) in different areas, including connectivity, culture, technical cooperation and trade and investment.

“It is so far confirmed that seven to eight MoUs are to be signed mostly on the question of connectivity, cultural and technical cooperation and trade and investment after the bilateral meeting of two prime ministers on October 5,” Ali said.

He, however, said the number of MoUs could be as high as 10 since the pre-summit discussions were still underway.

Asked for comments about India’s National Register of Citizen (NRC) process, the envoy said the Indian premier on the sideline of recent UN general assembly assured Sheikh Hasina that “Bangladesh does not need to be worried about the NRC”.

“It is their (India’s) issue, let them handle it . . . so far, we don’t need to be worried regarding NRC issue,” said Ali, a veteran diplomat, who previously served as Bangladesh’s foreign secretary.

The high commissioner said the Bangladesh premier was expected to take an advantage in the India Economic Forum to highlight the country’s progress in recent times, particularly Bangladesh’s graduation from LDC to middle income one.

He said Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina would also seek more investments from the Indian major investors.

Apart from addressing the Indian Economic Forum, she will meet jointly with three Indian Chamber of Commerce and exchange views with the chamber leaders on Friday.

The bilateral meeting between the two prime ministers will be held at the historic Hyderabad House from 11.30 to 1:00 pm on Saturday.

Later, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina will join a lunch to be hosted by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in her honour.

In the afternoon, Sheikh Hasina will call on the President of India Ram Nath Kovind while Indian External Affairs Minister Dr S Jaishankar will call on Bangladesh Prime Minister in the morning.

Besides, the visiting Singapore Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat is likely to call on Sheikh Hasina on Friday while the Bangladesh premier is likely to meet India Congress Party Chief Sonia Gandhi on Sunday.

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