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India, Bangladesh Foreign Ministers meeting likely Sept-end

In a dynamic engagement with Bangladesh in keeping with India’s “Neighbourhood First’’ policy, External Affairs Minister Dr. S Jaishankar on Monday called his Bangladesh counterpart Dr. A. K. Abdul Momen to finalize the date of the proposed 6th meeting of Foreign Office consultation between the two countries.

After the telephonic conversation, Dr. Jaishankar tweeted that “warm conversation with FM Dr. A.K.Abdul Momen of Bangladesh. Agreed to hold our Joint Consultative Commission very soon. Will continue to work closely to reach the ambitious goal set by our leaders.”

In the Commission meeting, the two Foreign Ministers co-chair the meeting.  Government sources said the meeting is likely to be held on September 29-30.  This time Dhaka will host the meeting. Tentatively it is proposed that the meeting will be in a virtual format and the decision on holding the meeting in real physical format is yet to be taken. Rohingya repatriation and river water sharing are also included for the discussion to find a road map for the conclusion of the unfinished agenda.

It is also being stated that the meeting between the chiefs of the two border guarding forces – BSF and BGB will also be held before the JCC meeting. The meeting will be held in Dhaka. A large delegation comprising ministries of External Affairs, senior officials from the Home ministry will also travel as members of the delegation. Indian Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla visited Dhaka last month and finalized the proposed JCC meeting between the two countries amidst the ongoing pandemic Corona crisis.

The 5th JCC meeting was held in New Delhi in February last year. That time the meeting was co-chaired by the then External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and  Dr.A.K.Abdul Moomen.  

Sources pointed out that both sides will discuss the entire gamut of bilateral issues of mutual interest. The ongoing cooperation, including the implementation of decisions taken during the visit of Prime Minister Modi and PM Sheikh Hasina, will be high on the agenda. The tentative agenda includes security, border management to mutually beneficial trade and investment flows, power, energy, river water sharing, development partnership, new transport connectivity, culture, and people to people contacts.

This time the engagement may broaden with the inclusion of new high technology areas for partnership, such as space, nuclear energy, IT, and Electronics, in particular, the desired partnership building efforts to enhance in a manner that is commensurate with the commemoration of Bangabandhu centenary and 50th anniversary of Bangladesh liberation.

(The writer is a senior Delhi-based journalist.) 

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