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Sheikh Hasina to focus on economic agenda during India visit

Sheikh Hasina to focus on economic agenda during India visit


New Delhi: Amid intense debate on implementation of the National Register of Citizens (NRC), which largely aims at deportation of alleged illegal ‘infiltrators’ from Bangladesh, its Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina arrive here on Thursday on a four-day visit to strengthen bilateral relations with India.

Bangladesh is expected to highlight economic opportunities between the two countries.

Her visit assumed importance in view of the recent decision by the Centre to implement the NRC exercise in Assam, and the demand for its implementation from some other states as well, which, together, have triggered unease in sections of the people.

“There are no problems in bilateral ties. I have come here to discuss economic issues,” said Hasina during a public reception held at the Bangladesh High Commission.

She also addressed the World Economic Forum (WEF) soon after arriving here and showcased Bangladesh as a fast-growing economy and an attractive investment destination in South Asia.

“It is time for global investors, particularly Indian entrepreneurs, to invest in Bangladesh in areas like education, light engineering, electronics, automotive industry, and artificial intelligence — beyond the conventional menu,” she told the WEF.

Sheikh Hasina is scheduled to hold official talks with Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday, and several agreements are expected to be signed. According to sources, both sides are in talks for agreements for a Special Economic Zone and a skill development centre. Talks are also to take up the Ganga barrage matter which has been stuck because of mutual differences. It is expected that issues like NRC are also likely to come up during the discussions.

“We understand that diplomatic comments on the issue are made keeping in mind Prime Minister Modi’s growing global stature. And we are aware of the greater political clout of the Indian Home Minister who caters to the domestic audience driven by the ideology of Hindutva,” sources said.

An observer, expressing Dhaka’s concern about NRC, said that the NRC would have remained an internal issue of India had it been confined to Assam, and warned of its negative fallout for South Asian region. “It will be difficult for India to reverse dynamics of the NRC if it is implemented as part of the Hindutva agenda”.


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