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In a special gesture, Bangladesh PM Hasina to plant sapling of a unique variety of mango in India

Prime Minister Narendra Modi with Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina

Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, who arrived in New Delhi today, to participate at the G20 summit, is expected to plant a sapling of Haribhanga mango in the capital. This variety of mango, grown in the northwestern part of Bangladesh has gained popularity in recent times.

This year in June, Hasina had sent mangoes as gifts to President Droupadi Murmu, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Congress leader Sonia Gandhi besides other senior leaders. The mangoes were handpicked by Hasina, the Bangladesh High Commission in a press note had said.

“Such gestures go a long way in reflecting the ties that countries share with each other. Food is emotional for humans and when world leaders exchange food items which are special, it gives out a clear message of bonhomie,” a foreign expert analyst said.

Besides mangoes, Hasina has also sent Hilsa fish in the past as a goodwill gesture. Hasina has been following fish and mango diplomacy with Indian leaders for a long time. The Bangladesh Prime Minister has regularly sent the fish to leaders in West Bengal including the late chief minister Jyoti Basu.

However, Dhaka had banned exports of Hilsa or ilish, as the fish is known in West Bengal in 2012 following the state Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s refusal to give a go ahead to the Teesta river water sharing treaty. The issue was taken up by the state assembly as well. Banerjee had to then assure the people of West Bengal that the state government was committed to breeding Hilsa which would be of the same level in richness and taste that of the Bangladesh variety.

Meanwhile, Modi and Hasina held bilateral talks today. “Had productive deliberations with PM Sheikh Hasina. The progress in India-Bangladesh relations in the last 9 years has been very gladdening. Our talks covered areas like connectivity, commercial linkage and more,” Modi said after the meeting. Sources said that issues relating to shared economic growth and connectivity were discussed between the two leaders, who share a close bond.

Modi described Bangladesh as a “soho jatri” or a co-traveller in the development of the region.

India and Bangladesh share a 4,096-km long border– the fifth-longest land border in the world. Several states including West Bengal, Assam Meghalaya, Tripura and Mizoram have international borders with Bangladesh.