The Bangladesh government has invited the Chief Ministers of India’s seven northeastern states to visit the country, a minister in the Sheikh Hasina government has said, in a move aimed at strengthening Dhaka’s ties with the region and India as a whole.
While the invitation has got in-principle approval from the Indian side, it will now be routed through the Ministry of External Affairs for possible dates to be worked out.
On Sunday, State Minister for Foreign Affairs Md Shahriar Alam was quoted by the Daily Star newspaper as saying: “We requested the Indian Minister of Development of North Eastern Region G Kishan Reddy to visit Bangladesh along with all the chief ministers of the northeast for at least three days. They can also be accompanied by high profile officials and business representatives.”
Alam made the comments in Dhaka on Saturday during a roundtable organised by the Editors Guild of Bangladesh on Hasina’s visit to India.
“Our PM said we are waiting for the visit,” he said, according to the Daily Star.
Sources said that while in India, Hasina met with Union Minister for DoNER (Development of North Eastern Region) G Kishan Reddy and discussed economic cooperation and connectivity between Bangladesh and India’s northeastern states.
The meeting was primarily focussed on how Bangladesh can play a role in facilitating economic development in the landlocked region by opening it up to South-East Asia. Hasina also invited Reddy to lead a delegation of the northeastern CMs to Bangladesh for at least three days.
Sources said the invitation was accepted by the Indian side, even as modalities are being worked out. Reddy will be leading the delegation, the sources added.
Bangladesh and Northeast India share a 1,900-km international border.
The invitation is interesting since Bangladesh is reaching out to northeastern states — at the sub-national level — as it has shared history and culture with these states.