February 20, 2015
Warm welcome for West Bengal Chief Minister at Dhaka
West Bengal Chief Minister Ms Mamata Banerjee received a red carpet welcome in Dhaka on Thursday when Bangladeshi Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Mr Shahriar Alam received her at the airport
The West Bengal Chief Minister expressed hope that her Dhaka tour would further strengthen ties between Bangladesh and her state and promote business between the two sides. “I will carry to Bangladesh the message of enhanced trade links and other exchanges between West Bengal and Bangladesh,” she told in Kolkata.
Across the border, too, her three-day visit has rekindled hope. “We hope that with this visit a conducive environment will be created to resolve the pending issues between Dhaka and Delhi,” Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Mr Shahriar Alam told on the eve of West Bengal Chief Minister’s visit. “Legally, the bilateral issues are to be resolved by the central governments. But we believe her visit will make it easier to resolve outstanding issues in the future,” he added.
Bangladeshi media, too, hailed the West Bengal Chief Minister’s visit. The Bangladesh Observer headlined its report ‘Mamata’s visit to expedite settling pending issues’, while the Prothom Alo headline read ‘Mamata comes to repair relationship’.
The West Bengal Chief Minister’s made it clear that her opposition to the land boundary agreement, which will lead to the transfer of enclaves, is a thing of the past. “As you know, we have made our position clear. I have been there (to these enclaves) personally. We have sent a proposal to the Centre. It isn’t only a question of 17,000 acres of land. But it is about rehabilitating people, ensuring their livelihood. I would say it is positive,” she added.
On Bangladesh Foreign Minister AH Mahmood Ali’s invitation, the West Bengal Chief Minister is scheduled join the Language Day ceremony at midnight on February 20 with the president at the Central Shaheed Minar in Dhaka. They will lay wreaths in memory of 1952 language movement martyrs who laid down their lives demanding Bengali be the state language in the erstwhile Pakistan. Mamata may visit Bangobondhu Sk Mujibur Rehman’s birthplace to pay her respects. She is set to meet the Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on February 21.
The West Bengal Chief Minister is also expected to address a business event to be organized by the India Bangladesh Chamber of Commerce, the Federation of Bangladesh Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Indian Chamber of Commerce. Ms Mamata Banerjee will lead a 39-member delegation with the aim of increasing trade and investment between Bengal and Bangladesh.