PM Modi breaks protocol, receives B’desh PM at airport

RSTV Bureau
New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi receives his Bangladeshi counterpart Sheikh Hasina on her arrival at IGI Airport in New Delhi on Friday for a four-day visit to India. PTI Photo

New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi receives his Bangladeshi counterpart Sheikh Hasina on her arrival at IGI Airport in New Delhi on Friday for a four-day visit to India. PTI Photo

Bangladesh Prime Minister Shiekh Hasina arrived in New Delhi on Friday on a four-day visit. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in a break away from protocol received her at the airport.

During her course of her visit, both leaders are expected to hold wide-ranging talks. The two sides will be signing at least 25 pacts in various key sectors including civil nuclear cooperation and defence. But no agreement on the Teesta water sharing pact is likely to be inked.

India is also set to announce a line of credit of USD 500 million to Bangladesh for military supplies.

The talks are scheduled to be held on Saturday.

This is PM Hasina’s first visit to India after PM Modi assumed office in 2014.

“It will be a visit without water, indicating that a pact on Teesta river waters is not on the cards…The central government will not go ahead with the agreement on Teesta without taking West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on board and she has been opposing it stridently citing water crisis in the state,” officals said

However, the two sides are looking at the inking of a framework agreement on civil nuclear energy which will provide for extensive cooperation in the sector including setting up of nuclear reactors in Bangladesh by India.

“It will be a very very special visit. We hope the visit will take the ties between the two countries to new level,” Joint Secretary in the Bangladesh-Myanmar division of the external affairs ministry Sripriya Ranganathan told reporters.

On Teesta pact, she said, “Teesta agreement remains a work in progress…We have not reached a closure on it.”

The Teesta deal was set to be signed during the then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s visit to Bangladesh in September 2011, but was postponed at the last minute due to objections by Banerjee.

Teesta water is crucial for Bangladesh especially in the leanest period from December to March when the water flow often temporarily comes down to less than 1,000 cusecs from 5,000 cusecs.

Issues like combating terrorism, containing radicalism and enhancing security cooperation between the two countries are likely to figure prominently, besides stalemate over the Teesta pact during talks between Modi and Hasina.

The West Bengal chief minister has accepted an invitation by the government to attend the launch of some projects between the two countries as well as a lunch to be hosted by Modi in honour of Hasina.

On the agreements, Ranganathan said another pact on formalising regular defence engagements will also be signed.

To boost trade, the two sides are likely to announce setting up of another set of trade facilitation huts along the borders in the northeastern region.

Hasina will visit Ajmer on Sunday and will meet Indian business leaders on Monday.

Minister of State for Heavy Industries and Public Enterprises Babul Supriyo is the minister-in-waiting for the Bangladesh PM.

(With inputs from PTI)