India A Tested Friend, Water-Sharing Problem Should Be Solved: Bangladesh PM Sheikh Hasina Before India Visit

Bangladesh PM Sheikh Hasina also thanked PM Narendra Modi for India's vaccine initiative and for rescuing Bangladeshi nationals from Ukraine.

PM Narendra Modi along with Bangladesh PM Sheikh Hasina.(File photo)

Ahead of her visit to India starting on Monday, Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said that India is a tested friend that played a crucial role in the nation-building process of her country. However, she also said that the "longstanding" Teesta water-sharing should now be resolved and "India should show more broadness" since it's an upstream country. 

Hasina is arriving in India on Monday where she would visit multiple places and meet the Indian leadership. She will call on President Droupadi Murmu and Vice President Jagdeep Dhankhar and will hold bilateral consultations with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, according to the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA).

The MEA added that External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar will also call on Hasina. 

"In the recent years, both sides have sustained high level of engagement, including at the highest level. The forthcoming visit of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina will further strengthen the multifaceted relationship between the two countries based on strong historical and cultural ties and mutual trust and understanding," said MEA. 

In an interview with ANI ahead of her visit, Hasina also spoke of Bangladeshi economic situation and said that a Sri Lanka-type crisis is not possible as Bangladesh's debt is well thought-out. She also said that her country would not be involved in the India-China conflict. 

Sheikh Hasina on Bangladesh-India relationship

Hasina said that India is a "tested" friend and added that the neighbourhood is a priority to her as well. She further said that it's important "to improve our business, trade and our bonding". 

She told ANI, "Well look, India is our tested friend. We always remember their contribution during our 1971 war...And how to improve our business, trade and our bonding that is important."

Hasina highlighted that despite the Covid-19 pandemic, Modi and the then-President Ram Nath Kovind visited Bangladesh when Bangladesh was celebrating the birth centenary of Father of Bangladesh Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, also Hasina's father. 

She said, "It is important and I really thank Prime Minister Modi and also your honourable president. Both of them visited Bangladesh when we were celebrating our father of the nation birth centenary and also our independence, 50 years of our Independence Day, and our friendship with India...That their visit at such a time, even that time there was a Covid-19 but this pandemic, but beside that both of them honoured us, honoured our people."

Sheikh Hasina on water-sharing issue

Hasina said that both India and Bangladesh would benefit from the agreement on water-sharing. She also said India should show "broadness" on the issue since India is upstream and noted that Modi is very eager for the resolution of the issue.

She told ANI, "So water is coming from India, so India should show more broadness. Because both the countries will be beneficiaries. So sometimes our people suffered a lot because of this need of water. Especially Teesta, we could not go for harvest and so many problems take place. So I think it should be solved but, yes we found that the Prime Minister is very, you know, eager to solve this problem."

I thank PM Modi for Vaccine Maitri, evacuating Bangladeshis: Sheikh Hasina

Hasina thanked Modi for Vaccine Maitri, the Indian initiative to share vaccine doses with other countries, and for evacuating Bangladeshi nationals from Ukrainea during the Russian invasion of the country.

Of the vaccine initiative, Hasina said, "I really thank Prime Minister Modi to take this initiative, and that way he, you know, contributed vaccine to not only Bangladesh also some south Asian countries, and it's really very very helpful. And it's really prudent initiative he has taken." 

On evacuation of Bangladeshis from Ukraine, Hasina told ANI, "I really [convey] thanks to Prime Minister again, that during this war between Russia and Ukraine, many of our students were just stuck up and they came to Poland to shelter, but when you evacuate your students, Indian students, they also brought our students back home. So it is really... You have shown a clearly friendly gesture. I thank to Prime Minister for this initiative."

Sheikh Hasina on India-China conflict

Hasina also said that she would want "to put my nose" into the India-China conflict. 

On a question on the India-China conflict, she told ANI that Bangladesh's policy is of "friendship to all, malice to none" and her focus is only the development of her people. She added that the relationship with India as a next-door neighbour remains very good. 

Sheikh Hasina' visit to involve Ajmer, Delhi's Nizamuddin Dargah

Besides official engagements, Hasina would also make personal visits during her visit of India, according to reports.

The MEA said in its statement on the visit that Hasina is likely to visit Ajmer. Reports have since emerged noting that she would visit Ajmer Sharif shrine.


Wion reported that Hasina will also visit the Nizamuddin Dargah in Delhi. 

"The holy Sufi shrine has been an important pilgrimage site for both PM Hasina and her father Sheikh Mujibur Rahman for more than half a century," noted Wion, adding that she had visited the Ajmer shrine in 2017 and 2010 as well. 

The Hindu reported that Hasina would also award scholarships during her visit.

"PM Hasina will offer prayers at Ajmer Sharif and award Mujib Scholarships, an initiative of the Government of Bangladesh for the descendants of 200 Indian Armed Forces personnel who were martyred or suffered critical injuries during the Liberation War of 1971," reported The Hindu.


It also reported that Hasina will also attend a business event being organised by the Confederation of Indian Industries (CII).