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Pranab Mukherjee's Bangladesh trip begins on Sunday

Updated: March 3, 2013, 7:22 AM IST
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Pranab Mukherjee's Bangladesh trip begins on Sunday
The President is expected to meet Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina amidst massive clashes in the country.

New Delhi: President Pranab Mukherjee is visiting Bangladesh on March 3-5 in a trip that is expected to take bilateral relations between the two neighbours to new heights.

Mukherjee, in his first trip abroad after assuming presidency, is accompanied by Minister of State for Railways Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury and four MPs. His wife Suvra Mukherjee is also accompanying him.

The visit comes as Bangladesh is witnessing massive clashes after a top Islamist opposition leader was sentenced to death for his role in atrocities, including rape and killings, during the 1971 Freedom War.

The clashes, between youngsters celebrating the death sentence for the war crimes and supporters of the convicted Jamaat-e-Islami chief Delwar Hossain Sayeedi, have left over 50 people dead since Thursday.

The four MPs accompanying the president are Sitaram Yechury, Chandan Mitra, Mukul Dey and Bhubaneshwar Kalita.

Mukherjee is to call on Bangladesh President M Zillur Rahman and receive the Bangladesh Liberation War Honour Award. He will also meet Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, opposition leader Khaleda Zia, the foreign minister and the finance minister.

He will receive an Honorary Doctorate of Law from Dhaka University at a convocation ceremony and also attend a reception organised by members of the Indian community.

Mukherjee will also travel to Bhadrabila in Narail district, Shilaidaha in Kushtia district and Mirzapur. Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde, External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid and Foreign Secretary Ranjan Mathai have visited Dhaka ahead of Mukherjee's visit.

Both sides earlier in February inked an extradition treaty, a liberalized visa agreement, and also exchanged maps of the demarcated stretches, in accordance with the Land Boundary Agreement (LBA) of 1974.

Both sides are also to launch a rail link between Akhaura in Bangladesh and Agartala in Tripura. They have also inked MoUs on several issues, including amending the double taxation avoidance treaty and for opening additional border haats (markets) in Tripura and Meghalaya.

India attaches the highest importance to its relations with Bangladesh and seeks a deeper and stronger partnership.

First Published: March 3, 2013, 7:22 AM IST
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