Euphoric reception awaits Narendra Modi in maiden visit to Bangladesh

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Dhaka, June 5: Bangladesh is all set to roll out a red carpet welcome to Prime Minister Narendra Modi when he arrives here tomorrow on his maiden visit amid expectations that the two-day trip will open new vistas in bilateral ties.

The capital is decked up with big hoardings carrying his photographs of Modi besides life-size cutouts of him, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.

Also read: Modi's Bangladesh visit: 20 pacts on table, trade to get boost

Bangladesh awaits PM Narendra Modi

As signing of the land boundary agreement (LBA) between the two countries would be a major highlight of the visit, hoardings carrying the photographs of the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi and Bangladesh's founder Sheikh Mujibur Rahman inking an agreement in 1974 to settle the vexed border issue have also been put up in various key areas of the city.

Also, large cutouts of Gandhi and Rahman could be seen on the streets as a token of an age-old relationship between the two countries and India's role in the Bangladesh Liberation War in 1971.

Earlier this month, the Indian Parliament had passed a historic constitution amendment bill seeking to settle India's 41-year-old border issue with Bangladesh.

The bill will operationalise the India-Bangladesh Land Boundary agreement that provides for exchange of 161 enclaves between the two countries. The two sides will sign a pact to implement the historic agreement in presence of Banerjee.

Interestingly, posters and banners, carrying her photographs have also been put up along the around 14-km stretch from the Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport to the main city, along with Modi's.

Various localities of the city have been decorated to welcome Modi and security across the city has been tightened as gun-totting personnel could be seen in all the prominent areas.

I am certain my visit will be beneficial for the people: Modi

Ahead of his visit, Modi yesterday said in New Delhi that he was looking forward to it with a great sense of "enthusiasm and delight" as the two sides readied a host of pacts to be signed, including one on enhancing connectivity.

Also read: Akhilesh Yadav defends PM Modi's foreign trips, says they are bringing investments

"It is with a great sense of enthusiasm and delight that I visit a nation with which India's ties have been very strong," Modi said in a statement.

Lauding role of Prime Minister Hasina for playing an "important role" for making the bilateral ties "strong", Modi said: "I am certain my visit will be beneficial for the people of both our nations and in the larger good of the South Asian neighbourhood."

Referring to the LBA, Modi said it marked a "watershed moment" in India's ties with Bangladesh.

The Prime Minister will have a tight schedule here as besides holding detailed talks with his Bangladesh counterpart Hasina, he will attend several programmes and pay a visit to the Memorial of the 1971 liberation war.

Besides signing pacts to improve connectivity between the two countries, there will be efforts by both the sides to enhance trade.

PTI

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