Indian foreign secretary comes on first leg of 'Saarc Jatra'

Indian foreign secretary comes on first leg of ‘Saarc Jatra’


Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is sending his new Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar to Dhaka on Monday to reach out to the neighbours to strengthen bilateral ties.
Foreign Secretary Md Shahidul Haque was scheduled to receive him at the airport at around 9.30am.
Jaishankar was to fly in from Bhutan from where he began his SAARC Yatra (visit) on Sunday.
The secretary will meet Haque at the foreign ministry at about 11:15am before meeting Foreign Minister Abul Hassan Mahmood Ali.
The secretary scheduled also to meet Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina at her Parliament office at 6pm.His tour was first announced on Feb 13 when Modi called SAARC leaders just before the beginning of the ICC Cricket World Cup.
He informed them he would send his new foreign secretary on a ‘SAARC Yatra’ soon.
Modi has prioritised India’s neighbourhood policy since taking over last year. He had invited all SAARC leaders to his swearing-in ceremony.
India’s external affairs ministry spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin had said the secretary would go to Pakistan from Bangladesh on Tuesday to conclude the first leg of the eight-country tour in Afghanistan on Wednesday.
SAARC countries collectively failed to ink any deal on transport agreement in the last year’s summit at Kathmandu.
But India is pushing ahead with sub-regional connectivity project with Bangladesh, Nepal and Bhutan to ensure seamless transit of vehicles among them.
Dhaka has been pitching for an equitable share of the Teesta river water while demanding the passage of the LBA bill in India’s Parliament.
Secretary Jaishankar is coming at a time when Bangladesh is witnessing a violent transport blockade and general strikes enforced by the BNP-led alliance.
New Delhi earlier made it clear that it was not their policy to interfere in any country’s internal issues.
Former Indian High Commissioner to Bangladesh Dev Mukharjee told the BBC that the Indian foreign secretary’s visit is not intended to lend support to anybody. It it meant to do spadework for a long-term relationship of India with her Saarc neighbours. The new government led Prime Minister Narendi Modi had made his intentions for better relations with neighbours clear when he had invited to his swearing in last year.
He said obviously the bilateral relations icluding the much talked about Teesta water sharing and enforcement of the Land Boundary Agreement signed by former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will come up for discussion during the visit. – News Desk


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