PM Modi is expected to visit Bangladesh to pay homage to Bangladesh founder Sheikh Mujibur Rahman

AHEAD of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Bangladesh to pay homage to Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, founder of the nation, on the occasion of his birth centenary celebration, India has assured Dhak that the CAA and NRC will have no impact on the friendly relations between the two countries. The 1951 NRC is being updated in Assam close to the Bangladesh border. Bangladesh High Commissioner to India Muhammad Imran met External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar in New Delhi on Friday, February 28 and discussed PM’s Modi’s upcoming visit to attend the birth centenary celebrations of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. Bangladesh will commence the celebrations called Mujib Satoborsha 2020-21, on March 17. Jaishankar, a career diplomat turned politician, says Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman is global leader. India remembers him with profound respect, according to a Bangladesh High Commission statement. Jaishankar expressed satisfaction at the excellent bilateral relations between the two neighbours. India attaches special importance to its relations with Bangladesh, he told the envoy. They discussed Prime Minister Modi’s upcoming visit to Bangladesh to attend the centenary celebration of Rahman to be held in Dhaka on March 17. “Muhammad Imran conveyed Dhaka’s appreciation for India’s friendly gesture to evacuate several Bangladeshis stranded in China in the wake of an outbreak of Coronavirus there,” the statement said. However, the Indian government has not shared any information on evacuation of Bangladeshis from the Coronavirus-hit Hubei province. In Dhaka on Monday March 1, speaking at a seminar titled ‘Bangladesh & India: A Promising Future’ in Dhaka, Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla said the process of updating the NRC in Assam took place entirely at the direction and under the supervision of the Supreme Court of India. “Let me clearly state here what our leadership has repeatedly confirmed at the highest level to the Government of Bangladesh: this is a process that is entirely internal to India. “Therefore, there will be no implications for the Government and people of Bangladesh. You have our assurance on that count,” Shringla told the audience which included Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s international affairs adviser Gowher Rizvi. Shringla, who had headed Indian Mission in Dhaka, was the first highest ranking official to visit Dhaka post Indian Parliament okayed CAA.Prime Minister Hasina had taken up the issue of NRC with Prime Minister Narendra Modi during their bilateral meeting in New York in September. Addressing the seminar, Rizvi said Dhaka does not like to see any situation in India that could affect Bangladesh’s secular social fabric. “Our commitment to secularism is absolutely central and we do not want to see any situation where our secularism will be threatened anyway,” he said. Rizvi expressed Dhaka’s willingness for continued close cooperation with India to ensure that “our secularity in society grows from strength to strength”. He said minorities in Bangladesh were “absolutely equal citizens” with the government attaching the highest priority in protecting and addressing their rights and issues, and there was no way Bangladesh would ignore a situation when minorities were affected in any possible way. Rizvi described India’s NRC as a burning issue but expected it to remain as an internal or domestic affair of the country as stated repeatedly by Prime Minister Modi having no impact on Bangladesh. Apart from paying homage to Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman Modi will have extensive dialogue with Sheikh Hasina, daughter of the iconic independence activist. India’s Foreign Secretary had arrived in Dhaka to prepare the ground for PM Modi’s visit. He was High commissioner of India to Bangladesh from 2015 to 2018 and also served as the head of the Territorial Wing of Bangladesh-Myanmar (BM) Division at the Ministry of External Affairs in India. The two neighbouring nations having  4,156 km international borders remain committed to maintain friendly relations in mutual interest despite contentious CAA and NPR and other issues. (edited by PK Chakravarty)

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