Update February 21, 2015

Dhaka 8-02 am, 01-October, 2020

Mamata Banerjee left Dhaka after a “emotional” and “special” visit

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West Bengal Chief Minister, Mamata Banerjee

21 February 2015, Nirapad News: West Bengal Chief Minister, Mamata Banerjee left Dhaka at the end of her three-day “emotional” and “special” visit to Bangladesh. An Air India regular flight left at 9.40pm carrying the Chief Minister and her entourage that included her cabinet colleagues, MPs, cultural personalities and senior officials. State Minister for Foreign Affairs Md Shahriar Alam saw her off at the airport.

During the visit, she interacted with eminent cultural personalities of India and Bangladesh at ‘Baithaki Bangla’. She also met the business leaders of both sides apart from her meetings with President Abdul Hamid and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.

She, however, urged all “not to be worried” and “keep faith” on her as she said she would act as a “bridge” between Dhaka and Delhi to solve pending issues. She was overwhelmed by the hospitality and later tweeted: “Agree. Warm, wonderful and special Bangladeshi hospitality”.

Prime Minister hosted a lunch for her and her entourage with traditional Bengali delicacies particularly cuisines of Hilsha fish. Finance Minister Abul Maal Abdul Muhith also hosted a ‘high tea’ where senior ministers were present. Indian High Commissioner in Dhaka Pankaj Saran hosted a reception at his residence.

During her interactions, Mamata said India-Bangladesh relations were based on history and emotions and not on just give and take. She urged all “to think about solutions, not problems”. She stressed on collaborations in every aspect from culture to border management and said “let us work together”.

Both Hasina and Mamata agreed to intensify cultural interaction by adopting several measures, including holding of Joint Cultural Festivals and Joint Film Festivals. They also agreed to constitute a Joint Committee to promote cultural cooperation between West Bengal and Bangladesh.

She also invited PM Hasina to visit Kolkata and inaugurate a ‘Bangabandhu Chair’ in Kolkata University. She extended an offer of a plot of land in Kolkata for a Bangabandhu Bhaban, where Bangladeshi nationals visiting Kolkata could stay. The Indian High Commission says PM Hasina has accepted her invitation.

During the visit she announced a number of steps she is ready to take to boost Dhaka-Delhi ties. Following announcements that Mamata  made during her visit:

• Setting up of Bangabandhu Bhaban in Kolkata for Bangladesh citizens who travel to West Bengal for medical treatment, etc.
• Annual India-Bangladesh Film Festival
• Annual India-Bangladesh Cultural and Classical Music Festival
• Bangabandhu Chair in Kolkata University
• Establishment of a Joint Cultural Committee
• Donation of 500 books to International Mother Language Institute in Dhaka
• Explore possibility of using Aurobindo Bhaban, 8 Shakespeare Sarani, Kolkata as memorial for Mujibnagar Government.

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