In the last 13 years, the Prime Minister of Bangladesh Sheikh Hasina welcomed Indian Prime Ministers at the airport, breaking protocol when visiting Bangladesh. Prime Minister Narendra Modi was also present at the airport during Hasina’s 2017 visit to India. However, Minister of State for Railways and Textiles Darshana Jardosh was sent to welcome Sheikh Hasina on Monday. The question arises, could a senior minister of the Modi government have done this? In the last interview on 4th September, Hasina spoke about the persecution of minorities – gave a clear message to India on various issues. She also talked about balanced diplomacy with China. Just before she visited India, Hasina inaugurated a bridge built by China in Bangladesh.
Statement from the Ministry of External Affairs
Explanation of Ministry of External Affairs sources – reception at the airport has nothing to do with this. She was given a red-carpet welcome there. The Prime Minister of Bangladesh was welcomed with songs. An official of the Ministry of External Affairs says, “Questions have been raised about the matter. But before that, we need to know that the visiting state leader is given a state welcome at the airport in Bangladesh, whereas India gives a state welcome at the Rashtrapati Bhavan premises, which will be held tomorrow.” According to the official, Hasina’s visit is very important for moving forward bilateral relations such as communication, and trade. On the other hand, the significance of this visit to Sheikh Hasina in the domestic politics of Bangladesh, which is approaching the polls, is multi-dimensional. Today Dhaka has come prepared to discuss various issues at the top bilateral level. They are asking for the issues to be included in the joint statement as well.
Controversy over the absence of Bangladeshi minister
Controversy has also arisen over the non-arrival of the Foreign Minister of Bangladesh. At the last moment, Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen was dropped from Hasina’s representative list. His comments in Chittagong two weeks ago created a huge controversy in Bangladesh. He said he had come to India to ‘do whatever it takes’ to sustain Sheikh Hasina’s government. India is also uncomfortable with this comment. It is believed that the controversy may have something to do with his last-minute dropout. However, Momen’s ministry said, ‘The senior minister could not go to Delhi due to illness.’
According to sources, Dhaka will apply to India to increase cooperation in the energy sector. After the war in Ukraine, Bangladesh is also facing problems regarding the import of crude oil. It is reported that the message that was given to Dhaka once before, may come up in the Modi-Hasina meeting. India bought cheap crude oil from Russia by avoiding US sanctions. Dhaka wants to buy Russian oil from India.
On the other hand, Hasina gave a mixed message for India in an interview before landing in India. On the one hand, she thanked Prime Minister Narendra Modi for the Covid cooperation and repatriation of Bangladeshi citizens trapped in the Ukraine war.