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Sheikh Hasina calls up Narendra Modi, invites him to visit Bangladesh

Sunday, 18 May 2014 - 7:15pm IST | Place: Dhaka | Agency: PTI

Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Sunday invited India's Prime Minister-designate Narendra Modi to visit Bangladesh and expressed hope that the two neighbours would continue to work sincerely and solve any problem through bilateral discussions.

"She (Hasina) has congratulated him (Modi) as the next Indian Prime Minister on behalf of the government and people of Bangladesh," a spokesman of the premier's office told reporters hours after Hasina telephoned the BJP leader.

She invited Modi to visit Bangladesh at his earliest convenient date and conveyed her government's desire to carry forward the bilateral relations and try to solve all contentious issues through dialogue, Hasina's special assistant Mahbubul Haque Shakil said.

"I hope that the governments of the two neighbouring countries would continue to work sincerely in future like the past to solve any problem through bilateral discussion," Hasina said.

She had sent a letter to Modi greeting him immediately after the Lok Sabha polls results were out on May 16 in which BJP secured a resounding victory.

"I am delighted to see a great friend of Bangladesh leading an extremely friendly country, India, in the coming days," she said.

The election sparked speculation about the fate of India-Bangladesh relations as the ruling Awami League is believed to have a historic ties with Indian National Congress with several fearing it could witness a setback with the installation of the BJP-led government in India.

However, most experts foresee no major change in bilateral ties other than some rhetorics.

Awami League general secretary and local government minister Syed Ashraful Islam has said those in Bangladesh who are "overjoyed" by the victory of BJP have no knowledge of foreign policy.

"People who are saying that since Congress is no longer in power in New Delhi, Awami League will also fall now are simply foolish. No one with an iota of knowledge about foreign policy will say this," he said.

He added: "India and Myanmar are our neighbours. Change of regime there does not affect Bangladesh...we do not mortgage our freedom to anyone. We're no one's followers and no one is our master (and) our relationship with India will remain the same."

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