Momen’s Delhi visit cancelled for ‘busy schedule’

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The scheduled visit of foreign minister AK Abdul Momen to New Delhi has been cancelled due to his ‘busy schedule’ at home ahead of Martyred Intellectuals Day and Victory Day, said a senior official on Thursday, reports UNB.

“Yes, he (Momen) is not going as he needs to attend some important programmes in Dhaka,” the official told UNB confirming the cancellation of the planned visit.

State minister for foreign affairs M Shahriar Alam will leave for Madrid on Friday while foreign secretary M Shahidul Haque is leading a Bangladesh delegation at The Hague currently, the official added.

Momen is likely to visit India in January, another official told UNB.

The foreign minister was scheduled to leave Dhaka for New Delhi on Thursday afternoon on a three-day visit to attend the sixth edition of the Indian Ocean Dialogue (IOD) and have discussion on bilateral issues with his Indian counterpart S Jaishankar on the sidelines.

The sixth edition of the Indian Ocean Dialogue will be held on Friday where a Bangladesh delegation will attend.

Momen accompanied prime minister Sheikh Hasina during her visit to New Delhi in October this year.

The Indian external affairs minister also visited Dhaka in August and had bilateral talks with his Bangladesh counterpart.

The IOD is part of Indian Ocean Rim Association's (IORA's) endeavours to enhance Indo-Pacific collaboration in maritime security, economic cooperation, disaster risk management, and blue economy, said an official.

The ministers and heads of delegation of the IORA member states - Australia, Bangladesh, Comoros, India, Indonesia, Iran, Kenya, Madagascar, Malaysia, the Maldives, Mauritius, Mozambique, Oman, Seychelles, Singapore, Somalia, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Thailand, the United Arab Emirates and Yemen met in Abu Dhabi, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) for the 19th Meeting of the Council of Ministers (COM) on 7 November and discussed the importance of convening the sixth edition of the Indian Ocean Dialogue in New Delhi.

The IOD is a flagship initiative of the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) with its origins in the 13th Council of Ministers meeting, held in November 2013 in Perth, Australia.

The first IOD was held in Kerala, India in 2014, and has been followed by two others to date: in Perth, Australia in 2015 and Padang, Indonesia in 2016, respectively.

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