Sheikh Hasina pushes for infra projects at FS Shringla meet, then makes a promise.

INDIA: The Bangladesh PM is said to have emphasised the importance of completing bilateral infrastructure and connectivity projects in time.

Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina told visiting Foreign Secretary Harsh Shringla that Dhaka will not be party to anything inimical to interests to  New Delhi and will not allow its territory to be used by terrorists or insurgents targetting India, people familiar with the matter said, asking not to be named

According to diplomats based in Dhaka and New Delhi, the Bangladesh PM emphasized the importance of completing bilateral infrastructure and connectivity projects in time. In this context, it has been decided that a high level project monitoring committee headed by the Indian High Commissioner in Dhaka and the Bangladesh Foreign Secretary will be set up immediately.

The people cited in the first instance added that the two countries have also decided that the meeting of the Joint Consultative Commission at the level of Foreign Ministers will be scheduled soon so that all bilateral projects are brought to speed.

In the year when Bangladesh is celebrating 100 years of Sheikh Mujibur Rehman aka Bangabandhu and 50 years of India-Bangladesh bilateral relations, Shringla, during his 90 minute meeting with PM Hasina told her that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has spoken about strengthening relations with the neighbours in his Independence Day speech.

That India remains top on Bangladesh PM agenda was evident from the fact that FS Shringla was the first foreign visitor that she met since the outbreak of coronavirus four months ago, the people cited above said, adding that the meeting was characterised by warmth.

FS Shringla briefed the leader of Bangladesh about the work happening on a Covid-19 vaccine in India and promised her (in response to a question) that because India manufactures 60% of the vaccines in world, it will ensure that Dhaka’s requirements are addressed, the people said. The visiting FS also discussed the prospect of starting an air bubble between New Delhi and Dhaka so that medical, technical and business professionals are allowed to travel by air in the coming days. FS Shringla also spoke to the Bangladesh Army Chief and General Secretary of Awami League party as well as senior ministers through video conference, the people added.

PM Hasina also raised the Rohingya issue with FS Shringla and requested that India facilitate the return of the displaced refugees to Myanmar. The people said, she was very clear that Bangladesh will not allow its territory to be used either by terrorists or insurgents. The two sides also discussed the security scenario in the region as well as forces opposing the growth of India-Bangladesh bilateral ties.