New Delhi (NVI): As Bangladesh commemorates the Golden Jubilee of the country’s liberation from Pakistan, Prime Minister Narendra Modi will join the celebrations when he travels there tomorrow on a two-day visit.
Modi will also participate in the birth centenary celebrations of Bangladesh’s founder and Father of the Nation Sheikh Mujibur Rehman, who is popularly known as ‘Bangabandhu’.
This will be the first foreign visit of Modi since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic over a year back.
PM Modi will be the Chief Guest at Bangladesh’s 50th Liberation Day celebrations at the National Parade Ground and Bangabandhu International Conference.
His participation in the historic celebrations assumes significance as India had played a key role in the liberation of Bangladesh in 1971, including fighting a war with Pakistan.
During the visit, Modi will hold detailed talks with his Bangladesh counterpart Sheikh Hasina after which the two sides are expected to sign a number of agreements aimed at boosting cooperation in diverse areas.
He will also visit the mausoleum at Sheikh Mujibur Rehman at Tungipara in the Gopalganj district, which is also the birthplace of the ‘Bangabandhu’.
The Indian Prime Minister will also visit the National Martyrs’ Memorial in Savar to pay homage to those who laid down their lives for the liberation of Bangladesh 50 years ago.
He will also be visiting temples of great cultural importance to both countries, particularly the heritage sites in Satkhira and Orakandi.
In Orakandi, Modi is scheduled to spend time with the family of Harichand Thakur, founder of the Matua community. This meeting assumes significance as the community has a sizeable presence in poll-bound West Bengal with an estimated population of 1.8 crores with a direct impact on 50 Assembly constituencies of the state.
Matua community has been pushing for Indian citizenship under the controversial Citizenship Amendment Act, which is a major issue during the ongoing electioneering in West Bengal and Assam.
Ahead of the visit, Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla highlighted the importance of the visit by saying that Bangladesh is at the intersection of India’s ‘Neighbourhood First’ and ‘Act East’ policies.
“This visit will be of very special significance and will serve to highlight the celebration of our unique and special ties which reinforce our comprehensive strategic partnership with Bangladesh,” he said.
Shringla said Bangladesh is India’s largest development and trade partner in the region.
“Both Prime Ministers will also inaugurate the Bongobandhu-Bapu exhibition in Dhaka that will showcase the life and legacies of the two great leaders,” he added.