Dhaka, Aug 29 (UNB) – Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and her Indian counterpart Narendra Modi are going to meet on the sidelines of the 4th Summit of the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (Bimstec) that begins on Thursday in Kathmandu, Nepal.
State Minister for Foreign Affairs M Shahriar Alam came up with the disclosure at a press conference on Wednesday at his ministry.
He said Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is scheduled to leave here for Kathmandu on Thursday morning to attend the two-day Bimstec summit with the theme of ‘Towards a Peaceful, Prosperous and Sustainable Bay of Bengal Region’.
Shahriar said the heads of state or government of the Bimstec member countries will get a chance for holding bilateral talks on the sidelines of the summit. “It’s expected that our Prime Minister will hold a meeting with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi among other regional leaders.”
Shahriar said Nepalese Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli will formally inaugurate the summit on Thursday. “Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is scheduled to address it just after the welcome address by the Nepalese Prime Minister.”
He said two important documents on enhancing cooperation and development of the Bimstec region are likely to be signed at the retreat session of the summit to be joined by top leaders of the seven member countries of the regional forum on Friday.
The Rohingya issue is also expected to come up for discussions at the retreat session, the state minister said. “If any country raises the issue Bangladesh will be happy to facilitate that.”
He, however, said there is no possibility for talks on the Rohingya issue at the main summit as political issues are not mandated to discuss there.
Besides, the state minister said the Bimstec leaders will exchange views on the different issues of regional cooperation and give various directions to strengthen it further.
Shahriar also said the leaders of Bangladesh, India, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Bhutan and Nepal will also assess the progress in mutual cooperation regarding the expansion of trade and investment, formation of a free trade zone, enhancing regional connectivity, alleviating poverty, checking climate change impact, increasing cooperation in power sector, and the development of culture.
He said two MoUs and Convection--one is on The Establishment of Bimstec Grid Interconnection’ and the other is on Bimstec Convention on Mutual Legal and Assistance in Criminal Matters-- are expected to be signed at the summit.
A joint declaration will be issued at the end of the summit while Sri Lanka will take the charge of the next chair of Bimstec from Nepal.
The Prime Minister is expected to return home on Friday.