Written by Staff Writer
06 Jun, 2015 | 12:37 pm
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi arrived to a warm welcome in Bangladesh on Saturday. He was received at the Dhaka Airport by Bangladesh’s Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. Modi was accorded a 19-gun salute, following which he inspected the guard of honour.
Modi is on a two-day visit to Bangladesh to cement bilateral ties and strengthen trust and co-operation between the two nations by resolving outstanding issues.
His delegation also includes Chief Minister of the eastern state of West Bengal, Mamata Banerjee.
Later in the day, Modi will pay tribute to heroes of the 1971 Liberation War at the National Martyrs’ Memorial and visit the Bangabandhu National Museum to pay tribute to Bangladesh’s founder Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.
Modi, along with Hasina and Banerjee, is also expected to flag off two bus services between the countries. Modi has taken border settlement and water sharing deals to Bangladesh as part of his drive to erode Chinese influence in South Asia, although Dhaka is likely to remain dependant on Beijing for military equipment.
The Indian PM has won parliamentary approval for an agreement that will transfer a small amount of territory to Bangladesh that previous Indian governments failed to ratify for fear of a domestic backlash. The issue dates back to British India’s partition in 1947.
Established by a treaty between two former princely states, the 106 Indian enclaves in Bangladesh and 92 Bangladeshi enclaves in India are islands of foreign territory inside each country, most of them close to the official border.
Their inhabitants – about 37,330 in Indian enclaves and 14,200 in Bangladeshi enclaves – are deprived of public services because their governments have no access to them. Under the agreement, each country will take over most of the enclaves on its territory and inhabitants will have the right to stay where they are or move to the other side of the border.
Modi has also persuaded Banerjee to drop her opposition to share water equally from a key river that flows through India before reaching Bangladesh. The two countries would also sign a number of deals to boost trade and security along the border and fight human trafficking.
Officials would also discuss a possible increase in Indian aid for Dhaka and in Bangladeshi electricity imports from India.
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