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Hasina-Modi talks today: Three MoUs to be signed

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Dhaka: Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina will be holding a bilateral meeting with India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday afternoon, a day before the G-20 summit begins.

During these talks to be held at the official residence of Narenda Modi, three memorandums of understanding (MOU) are to be signed. These are for facilitating smooth taka-rupee transactions, research in the agro sector and cultural exchange. Also, several power and railway projects will be inaugurated.

The G-20 summit is to be inaugurated on Saturday, at the Indian capital New Delhi. The Indian prime minister has invited nine countries including Bangladesh as guest countries at the summit. Prime minister Sheikh Hasina left Dhaka for Delhi Friday afternoon to join the summit.

Speaking at a press briefing at the Foreign Service Academy in Dhaka on Thursday, foreign minister AK Abdul Momen said matters of mutual interest will be discussed at the bilateral meeting to be held between the Indian prime minister and prime minister Sheikh Hasina. It is hoped that three MOU will be signed before the bilateral talks. These include 1. Cooperation for agriculture research and education, with agriculture research being strengthened between the two countries. 2. Cultural exchange agreement, extended from 2023 to 2025. 3. MOU between India’s NPCI and Bangladesh Bank, facilitating rupee and taka transactions though network-to-network connection.

The foreign minister said deep ties exist between the two countries at political, economic, historic and cultural levels. Bangladesh’s independence war, mutual cooperation at various times, and shared stand at regional and international levels, have deepened relations between the two countries further. He said in recent times the relations between the two countries have gained unimaginable momentum under the far-sighted leadership of prime minister Sheikh Hasina. This is being termed as a golden chapter. India has invited Bangladesh to join the G-20 summit as a guest state as it considers Bangladesh to be a friend and partner state. Prime minister Sheikh Hasina will address two sessions at the summit.

The foreign minister said the prime minister, in her speech, will highlight the challenges being faced by the global community, particularly the global south, in the areas of climate change, post-pandemic economic recovery, the impact of the war in Europe on the global supply of essential commodities like energy, food and fertiliser, and so on. She will also highlight before the world leaders Bangladesh’s inconceivable success in various socio-economic areas.

The foreign minister said prime minister Sheikh Hasina may also hold meetings on the sidelines of the summit with the Saudi crown prince, the Argentine president, the president of South Korea and the president of the United Arab Emirates. Along with leaders of other states, on 10 September she will pay respect at the mausoleum of Mahatma Gandhi in Rajghat. After that she will attend the closing session of the summit.

The prime minister will be accompanied on the trip to Delhi by foreign minister AK Abdul Momen, the prime minister’s private industry and investment advisor Salman F Rahman, ambassador-at-large M Ziauddin, state minister for foreign affairs Shahriar Alam, foreign secretary Masud Bin Momen and others.

West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee will arrive in Delhi on Saturday to join a dinner hosted by president Droupadi Murmu. Prime minister Sheikh Hasina may also hold talks with her. Sheikh Hasina will return home after the summit ends on Sunday morning. Upon her return, she will receive France’s president Emmanuel Macron in Dhaka.

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