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Modi due on June 6

7Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi arrives in the capital on June 6 on a two-day state visit, Dhaka and New Delhi simultaneously announced yesterday, ending all the speculations about the Indian leader’s maiden visit to the next-door neighbour. The foreign ministry and Indian External Affairs Ministry hoped that the visit will further strengthen the relationship between the two countries.
“At the invitation of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi would be coming to Bangladesh on a state visit from 06 to 07 June 2015. This would be Prime Minister Modi’s first visit to Bangladesh,” said a media statement issued by the foreign ministry in Dhaka.
“The visit is expected to further strengthen the excellent relationship between the two countries,” it said.
During the visit, the two prime ministers would have official talks where the entire gamut of bilateral relations would be discussed.
The Indian prime minister would also pay a courtesy call on President Abdul Hamid, the statement added.
Announcing the visit, an Indian External Affairs Ministry press release said, “This visit, the prime minister’s first to Bangladesh, reflects the importance attached by India to the bilateral relationship.”
“The visit is expected to further expand the cordial and cooperative relationship between the two countries and strengthen the ties of friendship and trust between India and Bangladesh,” it said.
None of the press statements, however, provided the details of the visit of the Indian prime minister.
Both Dhaka and New Delhi are still working on the details of the visit, said officials at the foreign ministry, describing the visit as ‘very very important’.
It has been learnt that Modi will arrive in the first hour of June 6 and leave Dhaka in the afternoon of June 7.
This is going to be the second visit to Bangladesh by an Indian prime minister in less than four years. Former Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh visited Dhaka on September 6-7 in 2011.
The officials termed Modi’s visit to Bangladesh long overdue and said the Indian prime minister had wanted to make his first overseas visit to Bangladesh.
But, they said that it could not be possible as there was no progress in either the Land Boundary Agreement or the Teesta water sharing agreement.
Modi was adamant that he would visit Bangladesh only after resolving one of these two contentious issues, said the officials, adding that as soon as the LBA was passed in the both houses of Indian Parliament, Modi decided to visit Bangladesh without any further delay.
About the topics of discussions between the two Prime Ministers, the officials said that the entire range of issues will be discussed.
Bangladesh will certainly give importance on issues like Teesta water sharing agreement, killing of Bangladeshis along the border, trade imbalance and cooperation in power sector, they said.
Teesta issue will be discussed, but it is unlikely that there will be any breakthrough on this during this visit, they added.
At least six-seven instruments are expected to be signed during Modi’s visit, the officials informed.
The instruments will be signed in the form of agreements, renewal and memorandums of understanding (MoU), said sources at the foreign ministry, stressing that negotiations are still going on about the finalisation of the deals.
The number of deals may be more, they indicated.
Of the likely instruments, the officials said that two agreements will be signed on coastal shipping and Indian Line of Credit to Bangladesh worth up to one billion dollar. Trade agreement and a protocol under it — Protocol on Inland Water Transit and Trade (PIWTT) – will be renewed for another five years. A deal on cultural cooperation agreement that was signed during former Indian Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh’s visit to Dhaka in September 2011 will also be renewed. Two MoUs will also be signed with Dhaka University.
They also said that the Indian Prime Minister might declare Bangladesh eligible for e-tourist visa scheme under which Bangladeshis will be able get on arrival visas after prior registration.
A joint statement will also be issued upon the conclusion of the visit and officials of both the countries have all but finalised the statement, they added.