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PM Modi to spotlight Global South by meeting Bangladesh’s Sheikh Hasina and Mauritius’ Premier ahead of G-20 summit

PM Narendra Modi with his Bangladesh counterpart Sheikh Hasina

Prime Minister Narendra Modi is likely to hold a bilateral meeting with his Bangladesh counterpart Sheikh Hasina on Friday, hours before the mega G20 summit kicks off. The meeting will be held at Modi’s residence. Sources said that issues relating to shared economic growth and connectivity will be the focus of the meeting. The two leaders had also held a brief meeting at Johannesburg last month on the sidelines of the BRICS summit.

Modi will also meet Prime Minister of the Mauritius Pravind Jugnauth before hosting a formal dinner for US President Joe Biden. In tune with the focus on Global South and Africa, PM Modi will hold a meeting with African Union head Azali Assoumani, President of Comoros as well.

As India gears up for the mega G20 summit, the euphoria has gripped neighbouring Bangladesh too. The country – the only one from South Asia to be invited– is making its G20 debut this year.

Hasina’s visit to New Delhi to participate in the G20 summit on 9 and 10 September will be a further boost to the relations shared by the two neighbours.

Recently, Bangladesh Foreign Minister Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen said the “Indian Presidency of G20 has literally transformed the forum, not just in form but also in substance.” Among other things, under its one-year presidency, India proposed the inclusion of the African Union in the G20 frame, as New Delhi aims to become the voice of the Global South.

“We believe that our honourable Prime Minister’s participation at the G20 Summit in New Delhi will add yet another feather to the ‘Sonali Adhyay’ or ‘Golden Chapter’ of our bilateral relations,” Momen said.

Hasina’s visit to India for the G20 summit also underscores the point that New Delhi and Dhaka ties are on track despite several differences including the thorny issue related to water sharing of the rivers.

India and Bangladesh share a 4,096-km long border—the fifth longest in the world. Not just that. The two countries also share 54 rivers and the Bay of Bengal.

Earlier Modi described Bangladesh as a ‘soho jatri” or co-traveller. For India, Bangladesh is at the centre of its Neighbourhood Policy. As many as five Indian states share their borders with the South Asian country.

According to the Interpreter, For India, Bangladesh is the regional hub that connects Nepal, Bhutan, Myanmar and China through both land and sea. So New Delhi intends to invest in Bangladesh to build regional resilience that can also balance China’s increasing affinity in the region.

Modi-Hasina meet

Modi and Hasina are expected to review the bilateral trade scenario and the integration of power lines.

Both countries are now aggressively boosting connectivity. This month, the Maitri Setu or the India-Bangladesh friendship bridge, which was jointly inaugurated by Modi and Hasina in 2021, will open. The bridge will connect Sabroom in Tripura with Chittagong Port in Bangladesh. Soon, goods will be shipped to the northeastern states through Bangladesh’s Chittagong and Mongla ports, a move that will save cost and time.

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