Hasina-Modi Oct 16 meet might shape Saarc Summit

Hasina-Modi Oct 16 meet might shape Saarc Summit

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Dhaka – Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina will have a crucial bilateral meeting with her Indian counterpart Narendra Modi in Goa on October 16, where they are likely to decide their attendance in the upcoming Saarc Summit, UNB news agency reported.
The meeting is likely to decide the fate of the November Saarc Summit scheduled to be held in Islamabad in November, a diplomat told UNB on Saturday.There is already “cloud” over the summit following recent tensions between India and Pakistan, while the last two ministerial-level meetings witnessed poor representation from Bangladesh and India, said another diplomat wishing to remain anonymous.
The recent interviews given by Bangladesh High Commissioner in New Delhi Syed Muazzem Ali to Indian media also indicate the importance of the meeting between the Bangladesh Prime Minister and her Indian counterpart, the diplomat said.
The Prime Minister will visit India on October 15 to attend an outreach meeting at the 8th BRICS Summit to be held in Goa on October 15-16.
“Perhaps, at the Goa outreach event, the two Prime Ministers (Hasina and Modi) can also discuss their attendance at the forthcoming Saarc Summit in Islamabad,” said Muazzem Ali while talking to Indian media recently.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is yet to take any final decision over her participation in the upcoming South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (Saarc) though a section of media reported that she will not be attending, officials said.
Bangladesh Finance Minister AMA Muhith and Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan skipped the two Saarc ministerial-level meetings in Islamabad citing domestic compulsion.
On September 19, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said Bangladesh ‘firmly stands’ beside India at this difficult hour and expressed deep shock at the terrorist attack on the army base at Uri, Kashmir.
“In line with its ‘zero tolerance’ policy against terrorism and violent extremism, Bangladesh firmly stands beside India at this difficult hour,” she wrote to her Indian counterpart Narendra Modi.
Bangladesh officials said Bangladesh and India will continue to work together in their “common endeavour” to eradicate the menace of cross-border terrorism from this region and beyond and both the leaders will further discuss it in the Goa event.
Diplomatic sources said four countries – Bangladesh, Bhutan, India and Nepal have progressed much with BBIN initiative leaving Pakistan and these countries along with Afghanistan and Sri Lnaka are exploring options how to precede further without Pakistan.
The Prime Minister is likely to have a number of important meetings with the leaders of BRICS member states – Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.
Officials at the Foreign Ministry here are now working to finalise things to that end, a diplomatic source told UNB on Friday.
Bangladesh is giving importance to three meetings with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Russian President Vladimir Putin and South African President Jacob Zuma, said the source.
Myanmar State Councillor Aung San Suu Kyi is also expected to attend the outreach meeting.
Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina had a meeting with Suu Kyi in New York Monday.
So, the source said, the Prime Minister is unlikely to have another meeting with Suu Kyi during her India visit.
On the other hand, foreign ministry officials said, Chinese President Xi Jinping will be in Dhaka just before the BRICS summit, most probably on October 14 and Prime Minister and the Chinese President will have official talks in Dhaka.
Over 8,000 BRICS delegates are expected to take part in the event to be held on October 15-16. India is hosting the summit in its capacity as chair of the influential bloc.
BRICS countries account for 42 per cent of the world population and have a combined GDP of over USD 16 trillion.
Both Bangladesh and India are members of the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC), along with, Bhutan, Myanmar, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Thailand.

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