‘Happy’ First Foreign Visit Post Pandemic is to B’desh: PM Modi

PM Modi said that he will be visiting Bangladesh on 26-27 March on the invitation of Bangladesh PM Sheikh Hasina.

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday, 25 March, said that he would be having “substantive discussions with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina” as he prepared to depart for Bangladesh, which he is scheduled to visit from March 26-27 on the invitation of his Bangladeshi counterpart.

In a departure statement, PM Modi said that he is looking forward to his participation at the Bangladesh National Day celebrations on Friday.

He also expressed his happiness that his first foreign visit after the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic was to a “friendly neighbouring country” like Bangladesh with which India “shares deep cultural, linguistic and people-to-people ties”.

Noting that the Bangladesh National Day celebrations will commemorate the birth centenary of the Father of the Nation of Bangladesh, Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, PM Modi said that the latter was one of the tallest leaders of the last century, whose life and ideals continue to inspire millions.

“I look forward to visiting Bangabandhu’s Samadhi in Tungipara to pay my respects to his memory,” he added.

Earlier this week, the Government of India on Monday, 22 March, named Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, as the recipient of the 2020 Gandhi Peace Prize. An official statement said that the award “recognises the immense and unparalleled contribution of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman in inspiring the liberation of Bangladesh, bringing stability to a nation born out of strife, laying the foundation for the close and fraternal relations between India and Bangladesh, and promoting peace and non-violence in the Indian subcontinent”.

Heading the jury for the Gandhi Peace Prize, PM Modi had called Rahman a champion of human rights and freedom, and a hero to Indians as well, according to a press release.

In Thursday’s statement, PM Modi also said that he is looking forward to his interaction with representatives of the Matua community at Orakandi.

“My visit will not only be an occasion to convey appreciation for Bangladesh’s remarkable economic and developmental strides under Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s visionary leadership, but also to commit India’s abiding support for these achievements,” the statement read.

He added that he would also express India’s support and solidarity for Bangladesh's fight against COVID-19.

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