PM Modi, Mamata and Bangladesh PM Sheikh Hasina at Shantiniketan

PM Hasina will be awarded an honorary D Litt by the Kazi Nazrul University in Asansol of West Burdwan district. 

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Bangladesh counterpart Sheikh Hasina the 49th convocation of the Visva-Bharati University in Shantiniketan.

With West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina sharing the dais with him on Friday, 25 May, Prime Minister Narendra Modi opened his speech, at the 49th convocation of the Visva-Bharati University in Shantiniketan, with an apology.

First of all, as the chancellor of Visva-Bharati University, I seek your apologies. When I was coming here, some students were telling me with gestures that there is no arrangement of drinking water. I want to apologise for all the inconvenience caused to you.
PM Narendra Modi

Hailing Indo-Bangladesh ties, PM Modi said: “Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is present with us. India and Bangladesh are two separate countries, but our interests are connected. Be it culture or public policy, we learn a lot from each other. One such example is Bangladesh Bhavan”. The PM is also scheduled to inaugurate the Bangladesh Bhavan and hold an unofficial “summit” with Shaikh Hasina.

This is Modi's first visit to Santiniketan, the sprawling campus housing the university built by Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore in Bolpur sub-division of West Bengal's Birbhum district.

West Bengal CM Banerjee had earlier said that the Teesta river was the lifeline of north Bengal and there was very little water in it. She had said other trans-national rivers could be diverted to meet Bangladesh's water needs.

The Teesta water sharing issue was discussed by the two countries in New Delhi on 9 April. Besides an advance team of SPG personnel, Rapid Action Force, crack commandos and a large number of state police personnel have been deployed to ensure fool-proof security. Sniffer dogs are doing the rounds of the venues – the convocation arena as also the Bangladesh Bhavan, which would be inaugurated on Friday.

PM Modi Avoids the Mention of Rohingyas

While Modi skipped mentioning the Rohingyas in his address, his Bangladeshi counterpart Sheikh Hasina said that Bangladesh wants to interact with Mynammar to send the Rohingyas back.

Rohingyas have taken shelter in Bangladesh. We’ve given them a place on humanitarian grounds. We want them to return to their country as early as possible. I request you to help us to interact with Myanmar so that they take Rohingyas back.
Sheikh Hasina, Bangladesh Prime Minister

PM Hasina’s Itinerary

Hasina's sister Rehana, and a large team of Bangladesh ministers, will attend the programme. On 26 May, Hasina will be awarded an honorary D Litt by the Kazi Nazrul University in Asansol of West Burdwan district. She will also visit Jorasanko Thakur Bari, where Tagore was born, and Netaji Bhavan, the ancestral house of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose, in south Kolkata.

(With inputs from PTI, IANS)

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