Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the main attraction of the ongoing twin mega celebrations, arrived in Dhaka on Friday as the two countries plan for taking the time-tested historical relations to a new height with focus on all areas of cooperation.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to Bangladesh will have a "very special significance" and will serve to highlight the celebration of unique bilateral ties.

Bangladesh and India will be signing a range of instruments and the two countries are looking at a comprehensive trade related agreement. The two countries would continue discussions on a comprehensive economic partnership.

Briefing reporters at the Foreign Service Academy on March 24, Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen said the biggest attraction is "Mujib Borsho" and 50 years of Bangladesh's Independence and the visit will mainly focus on the joint celebrations.

He said they are still in negotiations and a number of MoUs have been finalised on major issues. "I can't tell the exact number at this moment."

Responding to a question on Teesta issue, the Foreign Minister said the two countries agreed on signing the Teesta Water sharing deal in 2011 but it could not be signed, delivered and implemented. "You know the reason."

He said they always remain hopeful that the Teesta deal will be signed one day.

During the virtual Summit in December last year, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina highlighted the need for early signing of interim agreement for sharing the Teesta waters, as agreed upon by both the governments in 2011.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi reiterated India's sincere commitment and continued efforts of the government of India to that end.

Foreign Minister Dr Momen said they are working to make the relations stronger saying any issue can be resolved if the relations remain good.

He said Bangladesh and India share 54 common rivers and they are now discussing on six major rivers apart from Teesta.

Bangladesh and India stressed the need for early conclusion of Framework of Interim Agreement on sharing of waters of six joint rivers, namely, Manu, Muhuri, Khowai, Gumti, Dharla and Dudhkumar.

Modi's Engagements

Ever the politician, Modi during his stay is scheduled to visit the Orakandi temple in Kashiani upazila of Gopalganj, with an eye on wooing the Matua community in view of assembly elections in West Bengal, where they number nearly 30 million and can influence the vote in no less than 40 seats. Orakandi, the birthplace of the founder of the Matua Mahasangha Harichand Thakur, serves as the headquarters of the community. Modi's party, the BJP, has its sights firmly set on unseating Mamata Banerjee's TMC government in West Bengal. Traditionally, the BJP has had a negligible presence in Bengal politics.

Modi will also visit the Jessoreswari Devi Temple at Ishwaripur under Shyamnagar in Satkhira district. The visits are slated to start his second day on Saturday.

On Friday he visited National Martyrs Memorial at Savar and paid tributes to Liberation War martyrs.

Modi placed wreath and planted sapling at the National Martyrs Memorial and signed visitors' book there.

The Indian Prime Minister attended the National Parade Ground programme on Friday afternoon. President Abdul Hamid and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, among others, joined.

He jointly inaugurated Bangabandhu-Bapu Museum and attendted a state banquet preceded by a cultural programme hosted by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.

Modi will have a one-on-one meeting with his Bangladesh counterpart and will hold bilateral talks at the Prime Minister's Office. He will also meet President Abdul Hamid at Bangabhaban before leaving the country.

Bangabandhu and Gandhi Peace Prize

The government of Bangladesh acknowledged with deep gratitude the decision of the government of India to confer the Gandhi Peace Prize 2020 to Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, posthumously for the first time.

"It is an honour for Bangladesh and its people for the Father of the Nation to be bestowed with this prestigious award," said the Ministry of Foreign Affairs here.

The Gandhi Peace Prize recognizes the immense and unparalleled contribution of Bangabandhu in inspiring the liberation of Bangladesh, bringing stability to a nation born out of strife, laying the foundation for the close and fraternal relations between India and Bangladesh, and promoting peace and non-violence in the Indian subcontinent.

Ahead of his visit to Bangladesh, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said Bangabandhu's vision continues to light the Bangladesh-India friendship.

"I had the privilege of honouring his memory during my previous Bangladesh visit," he tweeted.

Modi said he will again pay homage to Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, alongside Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, during the ongoing Mujib Borsho celebrations.

Modi has said that Bangabandhu was a champion of human rights and freedom, and is a hero to Indians as well.

He also said that the legacy and inspiration of Bangabandhu has made the heritage of both countries more comprehensive and deep-rooted, and that the path shown by Bangabandhu has laid a strong foundation for the partnership, progress and prosperity of both countries over the last decade.

As Bangladesh celebrates Mujib Borsho, India said it is honoured to be commemorating his legacy jointly with the Government of Bangladesh and its people.

The Jury for Gandhi Peace Prize is chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and comprises of two ex-officio members, namely the Chief Justice of India and Leader of the single largest Opposition Party in Lok Sabha, according to Press Information Bureau of India.

The Jury unanimously decided to select Bangabandhu as the recipient of the Gandhi Peace Prizefor the year 2020, in recognition of hisoutstanding contributionstowards social, economic and political transformation through non-violent and other Gandhian methods.

The government of Bangladesh said the honour assumes special significance on the 50th year of Bangladesh's independence when the country is on the verge of becoming a developing country, through political, economic and social transformation, the foundations of which were laid by Bangabandhu.

The award is also a befitting tribute to the ever-deepening Bangladesh-India relations in a year when both countries are jointly celebrating the Golden Jubilee of Bangladesh's Independence, 50 years of diplomatic relations and the birth centenary of Bangabandhu, MoFA said.

As Bangladesh commemorates the legacy of Bangabandhu on his 100th birth anniversary, the award comes as a recognition of the life long struggle of this enduring leader to ensure the freedom, rights, aspirations and emancipation of his people and towards building a world free from hunger, poverty and exploitation, Bangladesh says.

On the occasion, the people of Bangladesh pay homage to the two great leaders Bapuji and Bangabandhu, whose values and ideals remain even more relevant today for building a world of peace, free from oppression, injustice and deprivation.

Mujib Coat

Khadi, the heritage fabric of India, is all set to catch eyeballs during Prime Minister Narendra Modi's two-day visit to Bangladesh on March 26 and 27.

Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC) has supplied 100 custom-designed "Mujib Coats" that will be the attire of dignitaries during the visit of the Prime Minister of India.

"Mujib Coat" is famed as the signature garment worn by Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.

As Bangladesh celebrates "Mujib Borsho", the birth centenary of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, Indira Gandhi Cultural Centre of the Indian High Commission in Dhaka, had placed an order for 100 Mujib coats, ahead of Modi's visit.

The specially designed Mujib coats have been made of high quality handcrafted Poly Khadi fabric.

The black Mujib coats have been designed with 6 buttons, two pockets on the lower half and a front pocket on the left, as worn by Bangabandhu.

In keeping with the eco-friendly nature of the Khadi fabric, the covers for these jackets too have been made of black Khadi cotton fabric with Khadi India's logo embroidered over it.

These coats will be carried in specially designed plastic-mixed handmade paper carry bags made at KVIC's Kumarappa National Handmade Paper Institute (KNHPI) in Jaipur, according to the Press Information Bureau of India.

KVIC Chairman Vinai Kumar Saxena said, "Mujib coat is historically significant in Bangladesh, and it's a matter of great pride that Mujib coats made of Khadi will be adorned during the Bangladesh visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who is the biggest brand ambassador of Khadi".

Saxena said, "Mujib coat is an immensely popular outfit in Bangladesh. For the older generation Mujib coat is symbolic of the ideology of great leader Sheikh Mujibur Rahman while it has increasingly become a fashion statement for the youths of Bangladesh."

"Likewise, Khadi, the heritage fabric of India, is a unique blend of tradition and fashion. Mujib coats made of Khadi will add significantly to the historical and cultural values of the celebrations," he said.

This will also promote Khadi on the global and diplomatic platform in a big way, he added.

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