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India and Bangladesh are likely to unveil a raft of measures to boost cooperation in areas of defence, trade and river water sharing during Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's four-day trip to India beginning Monday.
The two sides are expected to ink several agreements, including one on interim sharing of the Kushiyara river water following talks between Hasina and Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday.
On Thursday, Hasina is scheduled to travel to Ajmer in Rajasthan to visit the Dargah of the revered Sufi saint Moinuddin Chishti.
Hasina's delegation is set to comprise Foreign Minister A K Abdul Momen, Commerce Minister Tipu Munshi, Railways Minister Md Nurul Islam Sujan, Liberation War Minister A K M Mozammel Haq and Mashiur AKM Rahman, the economic affairs advisor to the PM.
During her visit from September 5 to 8, the Bangladesh prime minister will also call on President Droupadi Murmu and Vice President Jagdeep Dhankar.
The two sides will announce measures to enhance cooperation in areas of defence, trade, river water sharing and in some other areas, people familiar with the visit said on Sunday.
Hasina last visited New Delhi in October 2019.
"The forthcoming visit of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina will further strengthen the multifaceted relationship between the two countries based on strong historical and cultural ties and mutual trust and understanding," the external affairs ministry had said on Thursday.
Last month, India and Bangladesh finalised the text of the agreement on interim sharing of the water of the Kushiyara river.
The text of the memorandum of understanding (MoU) was finalised at the 38th ministerial-level meeting of the India-Bangladesh Joint Rivers Commission (JRC) that took place in Delhi on August 25.
India and Bangladesh share 54 rivers, of which seven were identified earlier for developing a framework of water-sharing agreements on priority.
The overall strategic ties between India and Bangladesh have been on an upswing in the last few years.
In March last year, Prime Minister Narendra Modi travelled to Bangladesh to attend events organised to mark the birth centenary of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and 50 years of the war of liberation of that country.
In reflection of close ties, India also hosted a number of events to mark the 50th anniversary of the 1971 war that led to the liberation of Bangladesh.
The prime ministers of the two countries have met 12 times since 2015.
Bangladesh is an important partner for India under its "Neighbourhood First" policy and the cooperation extends to areas of security, trade, commerce, energy, connectivity, science and technology, defence and maritime affairs, among others.
Bangladesh is now India's biggest trade partner in South Asia and the bilateral trade has grown from USD 9 billion to USD 18 billion in the last five years.
Bangladesh has become the fourth largest export destination for India with the exports registering a growth of over 66 per cent from USD 9.69 billion in 2020-21 to USD 16.15 billion in 2021-22.
Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, both countries were able to achieve progress on important connectivity initiatives.
The achievements in the connectivity sector included the inauguration of the Maitri Setu bridge over river Feni in Tripura and the rollout of the Chilahati-Haldibari rail link.
Bangladesh is India's largest development partner with nearly one-fourth of New Delhi's commitment under the Line of Credit has been made to that country.
Total contracts have crossed the milestone figure of USD 2 billion, said a source.
Under the 'Nutan Bharat Bangladesh Maitree Muktijoddha Santan Scholarship', over 9000 Bangladesh students have availed scholarships for education in India since 2017.
India has been a hub of medical treatment for Bangladesh nationals.
Of the 2.8 lakh visas issued in 2021, 2.3 lakh were medical visas, according to official data.
India's visa operations in Bangladesh is the biggest globally. In 2019, 13.63 lakh visas were issued, according to an official estimate.
(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)
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First Published: Sun, September 04 2022. 20:10 IST