Prime Minister Narendra Modi today said his two-day state visit to Bangladesh from tomorrow would be an occasion to convey to Dhaka India’s appreciation of the remarkable economic and developmental strides made by the neighbouring country under the leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.

In a statement on the eve of his departure, he said he would also convey to the Bangladesh leadership India’s abiding support for the achievements made by the country and express New Delhi’s support and solidarity for Bangladesh’s fight against Covid-19. Modi said he was happy that his first foreign visit after the onset of the pandemic would be to a friendly neighbouring country, with which India shares deep cultural, linguistic and people-to-people ties.

“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. I look forward to visiting Bangabandhu’s Samadhi in Tungipara to pay my respects to his memory,” he said. He said he also looked forward to offering prayers to Goddess Kali at the ancient Jashoreshwari Kali Temple, one of the 51 Shaktipeeths in the Puranic tradition.

“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,” the Prime Minister said.

He said he would have substantive discussions with Sheikh Hasina following their very productive virtual summit in December last year.

He said he also looked forward to his meeting with Bangladesh President Abdul Hamid, and interactions with other Bangladeshi dignitaries.

Modi’s visit to Bangladesh starts a day before the first phase of voting in the Assembly elections in West Bengal where the BJP is involved in virtually a straight contest with Mamata Banerjee’s Trinamul Congress.

A number of agreements will be signed and new announcements for intensifying cooperation in key areas will be made during the Prime Minister’s visit, Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla told the media.

The areas in which pacts are likely to be signed include disaster management, trade and oceanography. New announcements of cooperation will be made in areas like culture, health, preservation of spirit of 1971, railways, education, border development, power cooperation and start-ups.