Swaraj returns home after extremely satisfying B’desh visit

Swaraj returns home after extremely satisfying B'desh visitDHAKA: External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj today returned home after her maiden standalone overseas tour to Bangladesh with an understanding that she has made an “excellent beginning” in addressing each others’ concerns in the spirit of good neighborliness.

“Our assessment of the visit is…it was extremely fruitful and satisfying,” Spokesperson in the Ministry of External Affairs told reporters at the Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport ahead of her departure.

He said that Swaraj is returning with an understanding that “it is an excellent beginning in addressing each others’ concerns and work together with the spirit of good neighborliness”.

Earlier, Swaraj held a meeting with former Bangladesh prime minister and Chairperson of Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) Khaleda Zia, who met the visiting leader in her hotel.

Swaraj held a 30-minute meeting with Zia, who had boycotted the January 5 elections and accused that the Awami League government led by her arch-rival Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina lacked people’s mandate.

Asked if India’s engagement with the incumbent government in Bangladesh would continue until its tenure till 2019, the Spokesperson said “governments work with governments and Indian government will work with Bangladeshi government”.

“All other issues, internal to Bangladesh, will need to be addressed by the people of Bangladesh,” he said apparently referring to Zia’s allegations.

Swaraj’s last engagement in Dhaka was a 45-minute meeting with leader of the opposition Raushan Ershad of Jatiya Party at her office in parliament.

Bangladesh’s foreign secretary Shahidul Haque and Bangladesh High Commissioner to India Tarique A Karim saw Swaraj off at the VIP lounge of the airport.

Earlier on the day, Swaraj visited the Dhakeswari National Temple and held a meeting with Prime minister’s international affairs adviser Professor Gowher Rizvi.

Swaraj held a series of meetings with the top leadership here yesterday including Bangladesh’s President Abdul Hamid, Prime Minister Hasina, and held delegation-level talks with her Bangladeshi counterpart A H Mahmud Ali.

During her meetings, Swaraj gave a commitment to address Bangladesh’s concerns over sharing of Teesta waters and implementation of the Land Boundary Agreement (LBA) “in a manner that improves the welfare and well-being of both our people”.

She also handed over Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s letter to Hasina in which he pledged to further strengthen the framework of ties.

Modi, while thanking Hasina for her letter of felicitation on his assumption of office, also accepted her invitation to visit Bangladesh. He also extended an invitation to her to visit India at her earliest convenience.–PTI