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President Kovind reaches Dhaka to join December 16 victory celebrations

President Ram Nath Kovind in Dhaka

President Ram Nath Kovind’s three-day packed visit to Bangladesh to participate in the celebrations marking Mujib Barsho and 50 years of independence on December 16 is not a usual diplomatic trip. This will be Kovind’s first foreign visit since the outbreak of the Covid 19 pandemic and goes on to underscore the importance of the South Asian nation in India’s foreign policy and Neighbourhood First affairs.

Kovind was received by his Bangladeshi counterpart Md Abdul Hamid along with his wife at the airport.

“The visit of Hon’ble President, first since outbreak of pandemic, on a historic occasion, is a reflection of the high priority that both countries attach to the bilateral relationship,” Indian High Commission in Dhaka tweeted. 

Also read: How Bangladesh outperformed Pakistan and turn into a South Asian tiger

As a goodwill gesture, Kovind will present a T-55 tank and a MiG-29 fighter jet that were used during the 1971 Liberation War to his Bangladesh counterpart Abdul Hamid. The Indian President will also hold a delegation-level meeting with Hamid and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on the first day. Bangladesh Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen will also meet Kovind.

On Tuesday, India’s foreign secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla, who returned from Dhaka after a two day trip earlier this month, said that Bangladesh is a central pillar of our Neighbourhood First policy. “It is also a relationship where this policy intersects with elements of our Act East policy,” he added.

According to Dhaka Tribune, the President will visit Bangabandhu Memorial Museum at Dhanmondi 32 on the first day of his visit and pay homage to Father of the Nation Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.

Besides, he is expected to meet the Bangladeshi freedom fighters who were part of the 1971 Liberation war.

After Bangladesh gained independence, India recognised the country on December 6, 1971.

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.

Also read: India-Bangladesh 'Maitri Diwas' celebrated all over the world

Earlier Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his visit to Dhaka in March described Bangladesh as a ‘soho jatri” or co-traveller.

“We (India and Bangladesh) are in the best of times though Covid 19 has created some problems for us. In the spirit of things, the visit is important though there are areas of concerns which are related to border killings and Teesta water sharing,” Retd Air Commodore Ishfaq Ilahi Choudhury, who served the Pakistan Air Force in 1968 told India Narrative earlier.