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Bangladesh awaits ‘good news’ as Indian Foreign Minister Jaishankar set to visit Dhaka

Talks would also discuss the dates of meetings of the Joint Consultative Commission and the Joint River Commission, as well as the long-pending Teesta water agreement, border killings, and India's imposition of anti-dumping duty on Bangladesh's jute, among others

Apr 27, 2022
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Bangladesh’s foreign minister AK Abdul Momin and Indian External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar

Bangladesh, one of India’s closest allies in the region, is waiting for “good news” and a “surprise” as Indian External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar is set to start his official visit to Dhaka on Thursday. With their ties at an all-time high, the two South Asian neighbors are expanding their bilateral partnership in almost all domains.

"He may bring good news and surprise us. We don't know exactly what that is… he will give a special message…," AK Abdul Momin, Bangladesh’s foreign minister, was quoted as saying by The Daily Star. He also said Dhaka has sought help from New Delhi for the removal of the sanctions the United States put on its elite paramilitary force, the Rapid Action Battalion (RAB).

Jaishankar is expected to carry an invitation letter from Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi for Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to visit India, Indian Foreign Secretary Harsha Vardhan Shringla said earlier this week.

"This is good news. Relations between India and Bangladesh are very warm. We want continuous engagement with our neighbors… I am very happy that the Indian foreign minister is coming to Bangladesh. I welcome him," Momin told reporters at a press conference in Dhaka on Tuesday. 

Talks would also discuss the dates of meetings of the Joint Consultative Commission and the Joint River Commission, as well as the long-pending Teesta water agreement, border killings, and India's imposition of anti-dumping duty on Bangladesh's jute, among others.

Following the US sanctions on December 10 last year, Bangladesh sought India's help for its withdrawal and got assurance from New Delhi that it would raise the issue with the US, said Momen.

Interestingly, when asked if the issue of the Chinese debt trap would be under discussion, Momen said, "We hear you [journalists] talk about the Chinese debt trap. But later we find out that the things you talk about are imaginary."

Interestingly in February this year, Jaishankar, while responding to a query by Momin at the Munich Security Conference, had said that countries seeking loans should worry about unsustainable infrastructure projects like airports and ports that were empty.

“We have seen now countries including in our region being saddled with large debts. We have seen projects which are commercially unsustainable: airports where an aircraft doesn’t come, a harbor where a ship doesn’t come,” Jaishankar said at the conference.

(SAM)

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