PM Modi, Sheikh Hasina to hold virtual summit today


NEW DELHI:  Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Bangladesh counterpart Sheikh Hasina will be holding a virtual summit on Thursday and have comprehensive discussions on the entire spectrum of the bilateral relationship, including further strengthening cooperation in the post COVID era.

The summit is being held a day after Vijay Divas, which marks India’s victory over Pakistan in the 1971 war that led to the creation of Bangladesh.

India and Bangladesh have continued to maintain regular exchanges at the highest level with Bangladesh Prime Minister paying an official visit to India in October 2019.

PM Modi had delivered a video message on the historic occasion of Mujib Borsho in March 2020. Both leaders have remained in regular touch during the COVID pandemic.

Sources said India and Bangladesh have been making efforts to enhance transport and connectivity.

The leadership on both sides has been committed to reviving and operationalising the six pre-1965 rail links between India and Bangladesh.

With the inauguration of the Haldibari-Chilahati rail link, five out of six rail links are currently operational.

The other four operational rail links connecting West Bengal with Bangladesh are Petrapole (India) – Benapole (Bangladesh), Gede (India) – Darshana (Bangladesh), Singhabad (India)-Rohanpur (Bangladesh) and Radhikapur (India)-Birol (Bangladesh).

Sources said the Haldibari-Chilahati rail link was part of the broad gauge main route from Kolkata to Siliguri but the war of 1965 effectively cut off all the railway links.

To revive this erstwhile rail link, both sides have restored the link enhancing connectivity and people-to-people links on both sides, the sources said.
The sources said Haldibari-Chilahati route will enhance connectivity to Assam and West Bengal from Bangladesh. Work is also progressing on the rail link connecting Agartala and Akhaura.

Bangladesh is commemorating the year 2020 as Mujib Borsho – the birth centenary of the father of the nation of Bangladesh – Sheikh Mujibur Rahman popularly known as Bangabandhu. In his remarks during the commencement of Mujib Borsho on March 17, PM Modi had said that Bangabandhu was “one of the greatest personalities of the last century” and that “his entire life is an inspiration for all”.

Both Prime Ministers had jointly inaugurated a commemorative stamp on Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. A total of 500,000 stamps, 30750 First Day Covers and 25610 brochures on Bangabandhu have been issued by the Department of Posts, sources said.

Both prime ministers jointly inaugurated a Bangabandhu-Bapu Digital Exhibition to celebrate the life and legacies of Mahatma Gandhi and Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.
Sources said this exhibition will get displayed in New Delhi. Subsequently, it would be displayed in different locations in Bangladesh, the United Nations and would finally culminate at Kolkata in early 2022.

The sources said the exhibition is curated with 21 walls of information including the introduction wall highlighting the theme of the exhibition, a meeting wall, based on the day the two leaders met in August 1947 and Ba-Bangamata wall celebrating the two women who stood by their men. There are over 100 points of digital engagement such as a holographic time machine that layers historical photos with a timeline to provide a unique interface to the users to reference the time and lives of these leaders.

The Jallianwala Bagh and Genocide tunnel portray the pain, suffering, and the agony endured by the people during these violent events. Bangladesh’s struggle for independence led to more than three million deaths and over 200,000 rapes.

There are other notable features such as a 360-degree view of some of the historic locations and a robotic signature of Bangabandhu and Mahatma Gandhi. (ANI)