Agartala, Jan 11 (IANS): Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, accompanied by an over 100-member delegation, on Wednesday arrived in this capital city of Tripura, which had played a crucial role in her nation's liberation war in 1971.
Union Human Resource Development Minister Kapil Sibal, who air dashed from New Delhi to Agartala on Wednesday afternoon to receive Hasina, Tripura Chief Minister Manik Sarkar, several State Ministers and important dignitaries greeted her on arrival from Dhaka by a special flight of Biman Bangladesh Airlines.
"Though 60 percent of people of Tripura have their direct or indirect roots in Bangladesh, the entire population of the state becomes emotional when they talk about Bangladesh," said state Finance Minister Badal Chowdhury, who did his primary education in erstwhile East Bengal, now Bangladesh.
After receiving Hasina, the minister told reporters at the airport that with the visit of the Bangladesh leader, the historical, cultural and business ties between the two neighbouring countries would be made stronger.
Later, the Bangladesh prime minister, who is also accompanied by Foreign Minister Dipu Moni and several MPs, businessmen and her family members, was accorded a guard of honour by the security forces of Tripura.
The Bangladesh premier also attended an India-Bangladesh business summit, jointly organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), Federation of Bangladesh Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Tripura government.
Moni, Sibal, Sarkar, Tripura Industries and Commerce Minister Jitendra Chaudhury, captains of India and Bangladesh industries and businessmen participated in the summit.
The Tripura Central University will confer an honorary doctorate on Hasina Thursday.
"Vice President Hamid Ansari will also attend the university's ninth convocation," Vice Chancellor Arunoday Saha told IANS.
"This is the first time the Tripura University would confer the honorary D. Litt on a person after it was set up in 1987," he added.
The Indian government had upgraded the Agartala airport with international facilities just ahead of the Bangladesh prime minister's visit.
During her two-day tour of Tripura, Hasina will attend a huge civic reception to be hosted by the state government at the Assam Rifles Ground here Thursday.
Tripura Chief Secretary S.K. Panda told reporters that separate advance teams of special security forces from Dhaka and New Delhi arrived in Agartala last week to give flawless security to the Bangladesh prime minister.
The accompanying dignitaries include Hasina's younger sister Sheikh Rehana Siddique, a renowned social activist.
Along with strict border vigil and round-the-clock security surveillance, the entire state administration and the Agartala Municipal Council have been busy for the past one month to give a facelift to the city.
Tripura shares an 856-km border with Bangladesh.
According to historian and writer Bikash Chowdhury, Tripura had six to seven camps in four different sectors from where the 'muktijoddhas' (freedom fighters) fought the Pakistani forces in the nine-month-long war in 1971 that led to the creation of Bangladesh from East Pakistan.
"Over 1,600,000 Bangladeshis - a number larger than the state's then total population of 1,500,000 - had taken shelter in Tripura alone," he said.