Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has started an epoch-making visit to Dhaka in order to join grand gala celebrations commemorating birth centenary of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and golden jubilee of Bangladesh liberation war.
He arrived in Dhaka Friday morning on a two-day official visit amid much enthusiasm, aspiration and hope harboured by both countries to augment the bilateral relations.
A VVIP aircraft of Air India, carrying the Indian Prime Minister and other entourage members, landed at Hazrat Shahjalal (R) International Airport (HISA) at 10.35 am.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina welcomed her Indian counterpart at the tarmac of VVIP terminal of Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport at 11:00am.
Modi was given an guard of honour by a smartly turned-out contingent drawn from Bangladesh Army, Navy and Air Force at the airport.
Bangladesh PM and his Indian counterpart staying at the makeshift dais received the state honour with national anthems of both countries played.
He also inspected the parade.
Several Ministers, State Ministers, and high-ranking civil and military high officials were also present at the airport.
From the airport, the visiting Indian PM will pay rich tributes to the martyrs of the Liberation War of Bangladesh by placing wreath at the National Memorial in Savar.
Later, he will go to Bangabandhu Memorial Museum and place wreath at the portrait of Bangabandhu.
Bangladesh Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen will call on him at Pan Pacific Sonargaon Hotel at 3:30pm.
Modi will attend the celebration of birth centenary of Bangabandhu and golden jubilee of Bangladesh liberation war at the National Parade Ground. He will address the occasion as Guest of Honour.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina will preside over the event while President Md Abdul Hamid will attend as chief guest.
A family member of Father of the Nation will also speak on the occasion.
Later, both Prime Ministers will inaugurate the Bangabandhu-Bapu exhibition at Bangabandhu International Conference Centre (BICC) that will showcase the life and legacies of the two great leaders.
On Saturday, Modi will leave Dhaka for Shyamnagar in Satkhira by helicopter in the early morning and visit Jeshoreshwari Temple, dedicated to the goddess Kali.
He will then arrive at Tungipara in Gopalganj to pay homage to Bangabandhu at Bangabandhu Mausoleum Complex. He is scheduled to plant a sapling there and sign the visitors’ book.
After Bangabandhu mazar visit, Modi will reach Orakandi Thakurbari and visit Matua temple at village Orakandi under Kashiani Upazila.
Modi will pay tribute to Harichand Thakur (1812-1878), the founder of the Matua community. Orakandi is the holiest place for more than five crore people of Matua community living in Bangladesh and Indian state of West Bengal.
Upon return from Gopalganj, he will arrive at the PM Hasina’s Office and hold a tete-a-tete which will be followed by delegations level meeting. The two Prime Ministers will virtually inaugurate different projects and witness signing of agreements.
Official sources said both sides will sign a range of agreements and these deals will cover a number of areas of cooperation such as disaster management, trade, and oceanography.
A number of announcements, bolstering cooperation in areas such as health, railway connectivity, border development and startups, are also expected to be made.
The trade pact expected during the visit is different from a comprehensive economic partnership agreement (CEPA) the two countries were negotiating, a senior official said, adding that the talks for CEPA would continue.
From the PMO, Modi will call on President of Bangladesh Md Abdul Hamid at Bangabhaban.
Ending his two-day visit, Modi will depart Dhaka for New Delhi in the evening of Saturday.