Sheikh Hasina's India visit set to take Bangla ties up a notch

Posted March 15, 2017

The Narendra Modi government will host Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina from April 7 to 10, having had to postpone the visit twice in the last three months.

The opposition party reacted to reports that such a deal might be signed during prime minister Sheikh Hasina's upcoming trip to New Delhi - a treaty which, BNP said, would go against the interests of the nation.

The Indian envoy said that Hasina has been invited by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to stay at the Rashtrapati Bhawan, where usually no head of state gets the opportunity to stay.

The Teesta river, which has its source in Sikkim, flows through the northern part of West Bengal in India before entering Bangladesh and joining the Brahmaputra river.

The visit comes seven years after Ms Hasina's last visit to India in January 2010 and nearly two years after Mr Modi's visit to Bangladesh in June 2015. However, the visit was deferred again in view of the assembly elections in India.

The visit is expected to expand the relationship of India and Bangladesh and will form a strong connection of friendship between the leaders.

During foreign secretary S Jaishankar's recent visit to Dhaka, both countries surveyed the relationship with some satisfaction. Indian High Commissioner Harsh Vardhan Shringla, after meeting Bangladesh Foreign Secretary Md Shahidul Haque, on Tuesday said they were attaching the "highest importance" to the visit.

Under India's Constitution, the federal government needs the acquiescence of state governments before inking an global agreement that affects their access to river water that flows through those states.

Hasina did visit India in October 2016 to attend the Bimstec Outreach Meeting in Goa with leaders of the Brics countries. In late January, Bangladeshi officials had indicated that her visit was likely to be delayed further. She had met Modi on the sidelines of the summit.