This visit will strengthen ties further: Modi

He pays homage to martyrs of liberation war

Diplomatic Correspondent

27 March, 2021 12:00 AM printer

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who arrived in Dhaka on Friday morning on a two-day visit to Bangladesh, said his visit will contribute to even stronger bilateral relations between the two countries.

“Landed in Dhaka. I thank PM Sheikh Hasina for the special welcome. This visit will contribute to even stronger bilateral relations between the two countries,” he said in a tweet upon his arrival at Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport.

This is his first foreign diplomatic visit since the Covid-19 pandemic broke out in India last year.

“I am happy that my first foreign visit after the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic will be to our friendly neighbouring country,

with which India shares deep cultural, linguistic and people-to-people ties,” he said in his departure statement in New Delhi.

During the visit, Modi will attend the celebrations of the golden jubilee of Bangladesh’s independence, birth centenary of 'Bangabandhu' Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and 50 years of establishment of diplomatic relations between India and Bangladesh.

On his arrival at the airport, Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina received her Indian counterpart at the airport. A 19-gun salute heralded the arrival of Narendra Modi while a red carpet was rolled out at the airport to welcome him.

The Indian Premier became the fifth among the world leaders to attend the 10-day celebration. A smartly-turned out contingent drawn from the Bangladesh Army, Navy and Air Force gave a guard of honour to the Indian premier.

The Indian Prime Minister came to Dhaka from New Delhi to Dhaka on a new custom-made VVIP aircraft, using it for the first time on a foreign journey.

The B777 aircraft, which has registration number VT-ALW, was delivered by Boeing to the Indian government in October last year.

The aircraft, which has Call Sign AI1 or Air India One, departed from Delhi around 8am and landed at the Dhaka airport around 10.30 am on Friday, diplomatic sources said.

 Another custom-made B777 aircraft, with registration number VT-ALV, was also delivered by the American aircraft giant to the Indian government in October last year. Both custom-made planes are to fly only President, Vice President and Prime Minister of the country.

After the airport ceremony, Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited the National Martyr's Memorial at Savar and paid homage to those who laid down their lives in the 1971 Bangladesh War of Independence.

“Their struggles and sacrifices are inspiring. They devoted their lives towards preserving righteousness and resisting injustice,” Modi tweeted.

On reaching the memorial, Modi also planted a sapling of Arjuna tree there. "This sapling has been planted as a mark of respect for the valorous martyrs of Bangladesh," the Prime Minister's Office tweeted.

“In the same complex, Atal ji had planted sapling during his Bangladesh visit in 1999,” reads the tweet of PMO India

After planting the sapling, Modi paid homage to the martyrs at the memorial, comprising seven pairs of triangular-shaped walls -- each representing a significant chapter in Bangladesh's history, including the 1952 'Bhasha Andolan' (Language Movement) -- through which Bangladesh became an independent nation from Pakistan.

Sharing a picture of Modi laying a wreath at the memorial, the Ministry of External Affairs tweeted, "Prime Minister @narendramodi paying solemn tribute at the National Martyr's Memorial to the brave-hearts of the Liberation War of Bangladesh, for their great sacrifices."

During his two-day visit, Modi will take part in a wide range of programmes aimed at furthering cooperation with out friendly neighbor.

Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen called on the Indian Prime Minister at his hotel suit on Friday afternoon. Both the Leaders reflected on deepening the fraternal ties and strengthening the all-encompassing partnership based on sovereignty, equality, trust and understanding that transcends a strategic partnership between the two countries.

On the first day of his visit, Prime Minister Narendra Modi met political leaders from 14-Party Alliance along with the Convener. Discussions centred on diverse issues of bilateral relations were held during the meeting to strengthen ties between the two nations.

Modi also met and interacted with opposition leaders from various political parties, including Jatiya Party. The engagement involved discussions on wide gamut of issues pertaining to the two countries' bilateral relations. Top ranking Jatiya Party leaders, eminent freedom fighters, members of the minority community at his Presidential Suit in Pan Pacific Sonargaon Hotel.

Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi met the community leaders including representatives of minorities in Bangladesh, Bangladeshi Mukhtijoddhas, Friends of India and Youth Icons. Young achievers including cricketers Shakib Al Hasan and Mashrafe Bin Mortaza, actress Joya Ahsan and others were present.

Modi joined with the Golden Jubilee celebration programme at the National Parade Ground where he addressed as Guest of Honour. Presided over by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, the programme was also addressed by President Md Abdul Hamid.

The Parade Ground programme over, both Prime Ministers inaugurated the Bangabandhu-Bapu exhibition at Bangabandhu International Conference Centre (BICC) that showcased the life and legacies of the two great leaders.

As per the concluding day’s programme schedule, Modi will leave Dhaka for Syamnagar in Satkhira by helicopter on early this (Saturday) morning and visit Jeshoreshwari Templa, dedicated to the goddess Kali.

He will then arrive at Tungipara in Gopalganj to pay homage to Bangabandhu Mausoleum Complex. He is scheduled to plant a sapling there and sign the visitors’ book.

Aftar visit of Bangabandhu’s mazar, Modi will reach at Orakandi Thakurbari and visit Matua temple at village Orakandi under Kashiani Upazila.

Modi will pay tribute to Harichand Thakur (1812-1878), the founder of the Matua community. Orakandi is the holiest place for more than five crore people of Matua community lives in Bangladesh and Indian state of West Bengal.

Upon return from Gopalganj, the India Prime Minister will arrive at the Prime Minister’s Office and hold tete-a-tete which will be followed by delegations level meeting. The two Prime Ministers will virtually inaugurate different projects and witness signing of agreements.

From the PMO, Modi will call on President of Bangladesh Md Abdul Hamid at Bangabhaban.

Ending his two-day visit, Modi will depart Dhaka for New Delhi in the evening today (Saturday).