Foreign Secretary Jaishankar Arrives in Bangladesh on Day-Long Visit

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Foreign Secretary Jaishankar Arrives in Bangladesh on Day-Long Visit

Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar, right, is welcomed at Dhaka.

Dhaka: 

Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar today arrived in Dhaka on a day-long visit during which he will hold talks with Bangladesh's top leadership as part of his 'SAARC Yatra' to firm up India's ties with members of the grouping.

Bangladesh's Foreign Secretary Shahidul Haque received Mr Jaishankar at Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport.

After the talks at the foreign office, Mr Jaishankar will meet the Bangladeshi Foreign Minister, AH Mahmood Ali, and then call on Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in the evening, a Foreign Ministry spokesman said.

Mr Jaishankar flew in Dhaka from Bhutan from where he began his 'SAARC Yatra' yesterday. He will go to Pakistan tomorrow and from there he will travel to Afghanistan.

His visit was first announced on February 13 when Prime Minister Narendra Modi called the heads of governments of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation nations just before the beginning of the ICC Cricket World Cup and said he would send soon his new foreign secretary on a 'SAARC Yatra'.

Bangladesh's foreign ministry officials earlier said the talks between the two foreign secretaries were expected to review the entire gamut of bilateral ties with an extra emphasis on the outstanding issues of Teesta Water deal and the Land Boundary Agreement.

Dhaka was expecting the Land Boundary Agreement to be ratified in the current session of Indian parliament as hinted by Indian officials.

During a recent visit here, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said she would play a role in expediting the inking of the proposed Teesta Treaty.

Dhaka hopes Mr Modi to visit Bangladesh as soon as the long pending Land Boundary Agreement is ratified, enabling the two countries to swap the enclaves in each other's territories.

The officials said the top diplomats were also expected to discuss sub-regional connectivity and power trade issues as Dhaka, New Delhi, Kathmandu and Thimpu were engaged in a parallel exercise beyond the SAARC on the proposed SAARC transport agreement.

The SAARC nations collectively failed to ink any deal on transport agreement in the last year's summit in Kathmandu which prompted India to push ahead with the sub-regional connectivity arrangements with Bangladesh, Nepal and Bhutan to ensure seamless transit of vehicles among them.

India is also planning an electricity grid among the SAARC nations and has already connected a power grid with Bangladesh while the two countries are also discussing scopes for power trade and inter-grid connectivity.

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