India, Bangladesh sign 5 MoUs

Shringla defends PM visit to Matua shrine amid polls

India, Bangladesh sign 5 MoUs

PM Modi at Jeshoreshwari Kali Temple in Satkhira, Bangladesh. PTI

New Delhi, March 27

India and Bangladesh today signed five MoUs during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Dhaka that saw a mix of diplomatic and political activity. After spending a large part of the day visiting three rural and remote locations, PM Modi was received at “Tiger’s Gate” at the Prime Minister’s Office late afternoon by his counterpart Sheikh Hasina.

After inking five MoUs, the two leaders jointly laid the foundation stone for power evacuation from Rooppur Nuclear Power Plant being built with Russian help. The Indian involvement will be a $1 billion credit line. The two sides resolved to set up cooperation in space and artificial intelligence (AI). They inaugurated the Bangladesh leg of the Bapu-Bangabandhu Digital Museum, a passenger train on the Chilahati-Haldibari rail route and three border haats and took stock of the progress in diverse areas that included preserving the legacy and spirit of ’71, commerce and connectivity, defence and security, societal applications of nuclear energy and AI.

Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla, at a special briefing, defended the PM offering prayers at the Matua community’s spiritual centre as well as at Jeshoreshwari Kali Temple. The Matua community’s votes are crucial in 30 West Bengal Assembly constituencies. The BJP is aligned with one branch of the community’s spiritual founder.

The PM expressed his desire to visit Matua community’s Thakurbari, Kali Temple and Rabindranath Tagore’s residence. Due to paucity of time, he could visit only two places. “When dignitaries travel outside, they visit different places. Bangladesh President Abdul Hamid travelled to Garo Hills in Meghalaya. Let us not see this in a narrow context,’’ Shringla observed. At Matua Thakurbari, PM Modi announced a middle school for girls and upgrading of a primary school. He visited the mausoleum of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman too. — TNS

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