'Happy that this is my 1st foreign visit after COVID onset': PM Modi leaves for Bangladesh on two-day visit

Prime Minister Narendra Modi left for Bangladesh on Friday on a two-day visit during which he will take part in a wide range of programmes aimed at furthering cooperation between the two countries.

"PM @narendramodi emplanes for Dhaka. During his Bangladesh visit he will take part in a wide range of programmes aimed at furthering cooperation with our friendly neighbour," the PMO tweeted.

In his departure statement, he said, "I am happy that my first foreign visit after the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic will be to our friendly neighbouring country, with which India shares deep cultural, linguistic and people-to-people ties."

Noting that Bangladesh's National Day celebrations on Friday will commemorate the birth centenary of the Father of the Nation of Bangladesh, Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, Modi said 'Bangabandhu' was one of the tallest leaders of the last century, whose life and ideals continue to inspire millions.

Prime Minister Modi departed for Bangladesh at 07:45 am and will arrive in Dhaka at 10:00 am. After his arrival, he will attend an event at the National Martyr's Memorial at 10:50 am.

Thereafter, Bangladesh Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen will call on Prime Minister Modi at 3:15 pm. Later, he will attend the National Day Programme at 3:45 pm. Prime Minister Modi will then inaugurate Bapu Bangabandhu Digital Video Exhibition at 7:45 pm.

Prior to his departure, Prime Minister Modi said that he looks forward to having "substantive discussions" with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. He will also call on Bangladesh President Abdul Hamid during the visit.

"I look forward to my participation at the National Day celebrations tomorrow, which will also commemorate the birth centenary of the Father of the Nation of Bangladesh, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. Bangabandhu was one of the tallest leaders of the last century, whose life and ideals continue to inspire millions," he said in a tweet.

The Prime Minister is also looking forward to visiting Bangabandhu's Samadhi in Tungipara to pay his respects.

"I am particularly looking forward to my interaction with representatives of the Matua community at Orakandi, from where Sri Sri Harichandra Thakur ji disseminated his pious message. I will be having substantive discussions with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, following our very productive virtual meeting in December last year. I also look forward to my meeting with His Excellency President Abdul Hamid, and to interactions with other Bangladeshi dignitaries," he said.

He added, "My visit will not only be an occasion to convey appreciation for Bangladesh's remarkable economic and developmental strides under Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's visionary leadership, but also to commit India's abiding support for these achievements. I will also express India's support and solidarity for Bangladesh's fight against COVID-19." Bangladesh Foreign Minister on Thursday said the people of Bangladesh welcome the visit of Prime Minister Modi.

During his visit, the Prime Minister will also interact with diverse groups of Bangladesh's polity and society.

(With inputs from ANI and PTI)

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