The Bangladesh government has invited chief ministers of India’s seven northeastern states to visit the country, a minister in the Sheikh Hasina government said in a move aimed at strengthening Dhaka’s ties with the region and India.
While the invitation has received in-principle approval from the Indian side, it will now be routed through the Ministry of External Affairs for tentative dates.
On Sunday, Mohd Shahriyar Alam, Minister of State for External Affairs, was quoted by the Daily Star newspaper as saying: “We had requested the Minister of Development of the North Eastern Region, G Kishan Reddy, to visit Bangladesh along with all the Chief Ministers of the Northeast. For at least three days He may be accompanied by high-profile executives and business representatives.
Alam made the remarks in Dhaka on Saturday during a roundtable on Hasina’s visit to India organized by the Editors Guild of Bangladesh.
According to the Daily Star, “Our PM said that we are looking forward to the visit.”
Sources said in India, Hasina met Union Donor Minister (Development of the Northeast Region) G Kishan Reddy and discussed economic cooperation and connectivity between Bangladesh and India’s northeastern states.
The meeting mainly focused on how Bangladesh can play a role in facilitating economic development in the landlocked region by opening it up to Southeast Asia. Hasina invited Reddy to Bangladesh for at least three days to lead a delegation of chief ministers of the Northeast.
Sources said that the Indian side has accepted the invitation, even as the modalities are being worked out. Sources said Reddy will lead the delegation.
Bangladesh and Northeast India share an international border of 1,900 km.
The invitation is interesting because Bangladesh is reaching out to the northeastern states – at the sub-national level – as it has shared history and culture with these states.