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PM Hasina to visit India in April, says her close aide

DHAKA, Feb 23: Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina will travel to India on an official visit in the first half of April, her close aide said today.

This was disclosed by Hasina’s Deputy Press Secretary M Nazrul Islam after Indian Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar called on the Prime Minister at her parliament office here.

“The prime minister will go to India in the first half of April,” Islam told the media after the meeting.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi had invited Hasina during his Dhaka visit in 2015.

Hasina was expected to travel to India in December 2016 but her visit was postponed amid speculation that it was not a suitable time to discuss Teesta water sharing issue given the preoccupation of the Indian Government post-demonetisation and the unease in relations between the Centre and West Bengal, a key stakeholder in the issue.

Jaishankar, who came here on a two-day trip after wrapping up his China visit, called on Hasina and discussed on the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation that has been inoperative for long, local media reports said.

They opined that though the activities of SAARC has been stagnant due to Pakistan, the organisation should be kept functioning, The Daily Star reported, citing its sources.

Jaishankar said the Government and the people of India were looking forward to Hasina’s visit and her trip will strengthen the friendly ties between the two nations.

State Minister for Foreign Affairs Shahriar Alam, PM’s Principal Secretary Kamal Abdul Naser Chowdhury, Foreign Secretary Md Shahidul Haque and Indian High Commissioner Harsh Vardhan Shringla were also present at the meeting.

“Development projects will be taken on the basis of Bangladesh’s demand,” Nazrul quoted Jaishankar as saying.

Hasina said the two countries have settled land border dispute and observed that all issues can be solved if there is good intention, her deputy press secretary said.

She also sought more discussions on the implementation of the BBIN (Bangladesh, Bhutan, India and Nepal) motor vehicle agreement. (PTI)

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