Indian foreign secretary due Wednesday

Indian external affairs secretary Vinay Mohan KwatraFile photo

The Indian external affairs secretary, Vinay Mohan Kwatra, will arrive in Dhaka on a two-day visit on Wednesday evening to discuss various issues that include finalising the schedule of prime minister Sheikh Hasina’s visit to New Delhi.

Several diplomatic sources confirmed the matter to Prothom Alo on Sunday.

Foreign ministry officials told this correspondent that Vinay Kwatra will pay a courtesy call to prime minister Sheikh Hasina on Thursday and he will hand over the Indian prime minister Narendra Modi’s invitation letter on her visit to New Delhi.

This will be followed by paying another courtesy call to foreign minister Hasan Mahmud. Vinay Kwatra will then hold talks with foreign secretary Masud Min Momen.

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Vinay Kwatra was scheduled to arrive in Dhaka on 20 April, but the trip was postponed due to unavoidable reasons

It was tentatively decided that prime minister Sheikh Hasina would visit India in the latter half of June, but India wants to reschedule the trip to July and Vinay Kwatra is supposed to formally brief Bangladesh regarding the issue.

A meeting is supposed to be held between the heads of the governments of two close South Asian neighbours – Bangladesh and India – following the election in both countries. The long-disputed Teesta water-sharing issue may dominate the meeting.

Diplomatic sources hinted an issue on a bigger plan centring Teesta river may also arise during the meeting as talks are making the rounds over undertaking a project on Teesta financed by China. India is also in a discomfort zone due to China’s project transboundary Teesta river.

Meanwhile, Chinese President Xi Jinping has invited prime minister Sheikh Hasina to visit Beijing in July. Dhaka, however, sent a message to New Delhi that her first bilateral visit would be to India after taking office following the 12th parliamentary election.