NEW DELHI, June 21 � Amidst the raging controversy over the move to relax visa rules for Bangladeshi nationals albeit with some restrictions, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj will pay a goodwill visit to Bangladesh from June 25-27.
The visit will take place at the invitation of her Bangladeshi counterpart Abul Hassan Mahmood Ali.
This is Swaraj�s first stand-alone visit abroad as External Affairs Minister and reflects the importance that India attaches to its bilateral relationship with Bangladesh, a close friend and neighbour, a spokesman of the External Affairs Ministry said.
During the visit, Swaraj will hold discussions on bilateral issues with the Bangladesh Foreign Minister. She will also call on the President of Bangladesh Abdul Hamid and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.
She will also have engagement with think-tanks, chambers of commerce and industry and cultural organisations, the spokesman said.
The visit will provide further momentum to the close and friendly relationship between India and Bangladesh, he added.
However, it is not yet clear what stand Swaraj would take on the contentious issues of the Land Boundary Agreement and signing of the Teesta water-sharing treaty. Further, a new controversy has arisen over New Delhi�s proposal to club Bangladesh among countries which enjoy visa on arrival facilities. As reported by this newspaper, the Assam Government has already
rejected the Centre�s proposal to issue entry to Bangladeshi nationals, especially children and senior citizens.
The State Government has also objected to the proposal to introduce multiple visa regime for Bangladeshi nationals on the strength of a single visa, as proposed by the External Affairs Ministry to boost ties with the neighbouring country.