When Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi was leaving Delhi for Dhaka yesterday morning, he posted a message in his Facebook wall: This visit will deepen friendship between India and Bangladesh.
In the afternoon, while sharing a common podium with his Bangladeshi counterpart Sheikh Hasina, Modi said, "India and Bangladesh moving forward together is equally important for the development of the entire region."
PM Hasina said, "If we move forward hand-in-hand, the development of our people is inevitable."
She also urged India to play a leading role in building a stable and politically and economically vibrant South Asia.
Modi was personally received by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina at the airport as he began a two-day visit to Bangladesh to join celebrations of the birth centenary of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and the Golden Jubilee of Bangladesh's independence. This is his first foreign visit since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic.
Sharing two photos of Hasina welcoming Modi at the airport, the prime minister's office of India also tweeted another message: "A special visit begins with a special gesture."
After reaching Bangladesh, Modi tweeted, sharing a photo of Hasina welcoming him at the Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport: "Landed in Dhaka. I thank PM Sheikh Hasina for the special welcome at the airport." He reiterated that "this visit will contribute to even stronger bilateral relations between our nations."
Five years ago, when PM Modi first visited Bangladesh, gestures and goodwill were plenty. They translated their goodwill into actions by signing a host of treaties and agreements to pave the way for regional connectivity, economic development and increasing people-to-people contact.
This time around, the two leaders will hold a summit today to discuss a number of issues remaining pending for a long time and expected to focus on how to take the bilateral relation to new heights.
With connectivity at the centre of the bilateral relation, Dhaka now eyes bringing neighbouring Nepal and Bhutan on board, say diplomatic sources.
India also eyes an integrated connectivity for prosperity in the region, keeping the "neighbourhood first" policy at the front, according to Indian diplomatic sources.
Bangladesh and India are likely to sign at least six memoranda of understanding during Modi's Dhaka visit.
Those include two grant agreements – establishment of India and Bangladesh digital service and employment training centres in six districts and establishment of sports facilities in Rajshahi.
Other agreements are, forming an experts group on trade remedy measures, cooperation on marine fishing, cooperation on environmental protection, and cooperation between the National Staff Colleges of the two countries and cooperation on culture.
Pandemic time support and vaccine issues will also feature in the bilateral discussion.
The 10-day nationwide programme, marking the birth centenary of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and the golden jubilee of the country's independence has come to an end through Modi's participation.
The celebration has also brought the opportunity for Saarc leaders from Sri Lanka, Maldives, Bhutan, and Nepal to speak from the same platform though on different dates.