Home India Jaishankar conveys PM Modi’s invitation to Sheikh Hasina to visit India

Jaishankar conveys PM Modi’s invitation to Sheikh Hasina to visit India

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NEW DELHI: External affairs minister S Jaishankar on Thursday conveyed Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s invitation to his Bangladesh counterpart Sheikh Hasina to visit India and said the two countries were looking at the resumption of cross-border bus and railway services.

Jaishankar, who was on a day-long visit to Dhaka, also invited his counterpart AK Abdul Momen to visit India for the next meeting of the joint consultative commission to be held ahead of Hasina’s trip.

The minister called on Hasina and conveyed Modi’s invitation to visit India later this year, the external affairs ministry said. He also exchanged views on bilateral, regional and international issues with the Bangladesh premier.

“I have conveyed to her the personal greetings and good wishes of Prime Minister Modi and also conveyed that we look forward to her visit to India at a time of her convenience,” Jaishankar said at a joint media interaction with Momen in Dhaka.

“We discussed a number of issues. We reviewed bilateral ties as well as regional and global issues,” he said.

Bangladesh’s foreign ministry tweeted that Hasina had been invited to visit India in July.

Modi made a rare foreign visit to Dhaka in March last year to participate in celebrations marking the 50th anniversary of Bangladesh’s independence.

Jaishankar said the meeting of the joint consultative commission will be an opportunity to “lay the ground for the next level of our relationship, which we hope would be underlined when the prime minister visits India”. He added that connectivity was back to pre-Covid levels and the two sides are “looking at resuming cross-border bus and railway services shortly after Eid”.

Before the Covid-19 pandemic, Bangladesh emerged as the largest source of foreign tourists for India, with some 2.5 million people visiting the country in 2019. Tens of thousands of Bangladeshi visitors travel to south India for medical treatment, and this was a key reason behind the recent opening of a new Bangladeshi mission in Chennai.

Jaishankar expressed satisfaction at trade, disbursement of loans for bilateral projects, travel services and investments being at “new heights” and recovering the momentum that was lost during the pandemic.

“In fact, Covid-19 itself taught us how important it was to have regional supply chains [and] value chains, so that whether it was essential commodities or oxygen or medicines or food, we could count on each other at this time of difficulty,” he said.

The two countries hope to see the early commissioning of many projects, including in the power and energy sector and in connectivity, and India is looking forward to stronger sub-regional cooperation in several areas, he said.

The hydropower domain offers opportunities for mutually beneficial cooperation between countries in the region, and India hopes to work with neighbours, including in the Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal (BBIN) framework, he added.

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