Bangladesh is all set to roll out a red carpet to welcome President of India Ram Nath Kovind who arrives in Dhaka on Wednesday morning amid expectations from both sides to take the bilateral relations to new heights and unleash the economic and trade potential.
He is coming at the invitation of President Md Abdul Hamid on a three-day state visit to Bangladesh to attend the 50th Victory Day celebrations of Bangladesh.
“This is an exceptional relation, a relation tied by blood. So in any crisis, one country will stand by the other. It’s natural,” said a top diplomat in Dhaka.
The relations began in 1971 when India stood by Bangladesh in the war against Pakistan. Indian soldiers also laid down their lives for the independence of Bangladesh.
The India President will present a T-55 tank and a MiG-29 fighter jet used during the War of Liberation of Bangladesh to President Abdul Hamid for preservation and display at the Bangladesh National Museum.
Ahead of Kovind’s visit, the capital city of Dhaka has taken a festive look with streets adorned with life-size cutouts of the Indian President, portraits of the Presidents of the two countries and Kovind and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.
The First Lady of India, the daughter of the Indian President, minister of state for education, two MPs, Indian foreign secretary and other high-ranking officials from various departments will be accompanying Kovind.
After the airport ceremony is over, Kovind will then move to Savar to pay homage to the martyrs of the War of Liberation at the National Mausoleum. From Savar, he will visit Bangabandhu Memorial Museum at Dhanmondi-32 and pay homage to the memory of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen will call on the Indian President separately at Pan Pacific Sonargaon Dhaka where he will be staying during the three-day visit.
Earlier, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi paid a state visit to Bangladesh on March 26-27 last to join the celebrations of the golden jubilee of Bangladesh’s independence, the birth centenary of Bangabandhu and 50 years of establishment of diplomatic relations between India and Bangladesh.
The diplomatic circle in Dhaka said the two VVIP visits from India to Bangladesh in 2021 will be written in gold letters as a milestone in their relations.
“India is a neighbour of Bangladesh and a true friend. The Bangladesh-India relations are not just about borders. The unwavering support of this friendly country in the great War of Independence of Bangladesh in 1971 laid the foundation of good relations between the two countries,” said Foreign Minister Abdul Momen.
Connecting a press conference virtually from Turkey, he said Bangladesh-India bilateral relations have become stronger and more dynamic under the strong leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, the worthy daughter of Bangabandhu.
Bangladesh is a major pillar of India’s Neighbourhood First Policy, said the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) of India in a statement recently.
“India and Bangladesh share progressive, comprehensive and substantial cooperation in diverse areas ranging from security, border management & defence, water resources, trade, transport & connectivity, health, culture & people-to-people ties, energy & power to development partnership and sub-regional cooperation. Both countries have closely cooperated in addressing challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic,” it said.
The upcoming visit of the President on this historic occasion is a reflection of the high priority that both countries attach to the bilateral relationship. It also reaffirms the shared desire of both countries to further consolidate and strengthen the multifaceted and irreversible partnership, based on historical and cultural ties, mutual trust and understanding, reads the MEA statement.
As per the programme schedule, the Indian President will also hold a delegation-level meeting with President Hamid at 6:20pm Wednesday. He will hand over a T-55 obsolete tank and a MiG-29 Vintage aircraft used during the War of Liberation in 1971 to the Bangladesh President at that time.
Later, the Indian President will attend a state banquet to be hosted by his Bangladesh counterpart.
On Thursday morning, Kovind will attend the golden jubilee celebrations of Bangladesh’s Victory Day at the National Parade Ground as the ‘Guest of Honour’. On the same day, he will attend another event styled ‘Moha Bijoyer Moha Nayak’ at the South Plaza of Jatiya Sangshad Bhaban to pay homage to the Father of the Nation.
On the concluding day of his visit on Friday, the Indian President will inaugurate and inspect the newly renovated section of the ‘Kali Mondir’ at Ramna in the capital. He expressed his interest in exchanging views with the members of the relevant committee of the temple.
Wrapping up his state visit, the Indian President will leave Dhaka for Delhi on Friday noon.