Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, her Indian counterpart Narendra Modi, Indian President Pranab Mukherjee and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee held an exclusive meeting on Saturday night, said a confidential source in New Delhi.
The meeting on the third day of her four-day official visit is seen as very important but its objective and outcome have not been made public yet.
The Bangladesh prime minister paid a courtesy call on Indian President Pranab Mukherjee at Rashtrapati Bhaban on the day.
PM’s Press Secretary Ihsanul Karim said they discussed various matters relating to bilateral interests including the decisions agreed by the two countries at Saturday’s talks between Sheikh Hasina and Narendra Modi.
The Indian president said he was very much touched with the gesture of Sheikh Hasina as she had taken the trouble to visit India to convey her compassion after demise of his wife Suvra Mukherjee.
The premier thanked Pranab Mukherjee for his wholehearted support to Bangladesh’s War of Liberation.
They also reminisced the memories which both their families shared during Sheikh Hasina’s exile life in India after the assassination of Bangabandhu in 1975, the press secretary said.
The Indian President praised Sheikh Hasina’s constant efforts to take forward Bangladesh and establish the relations between the two counties on a solid foundation.
On Sunday night, Sheikh Hasina attended a dinner hosted by the Indian President in her honour.
Landed in Delhi on April 7, Sheikh Hasina was received by her counterpart Narendra Modi at the airport. India rolled out red carpet to welcome her. Her stay at Presidential Palace “Rashtrapati Bhavan” instead of hotel bears testimony to India’s high regard for Bangladesh.
On the third day of her vist, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina went to Ajmer Sharif and paid her obeisance at the shrine of Sufi saint Khwaja Moinuddin Hasan Chishti.
She was welcomed at the shrine warmly. Accompanied by Khadim Aleemudin, she offered a gilaf (cover) at the shrine.
The premier landed at the Ghooghra helipad in Ajmer in the morning. On her arrival, she was accorded red carpet welcome by the district administration. She was warmly greeted by Kalbelia dancers who moved to folk tunes.
From the helipad, she went to Ajmer circuit house. After taking rest, she reached Ajmer shrine and offered her prayers. She left Ajmer for Delhi via Jaipur.
Indian National Congress President Sonia Gandhi and Vice-President Rahul Gandhi called on Sheikh Hasina at Rashtrapati Bhavan on Sunday afternoon.
Hasina will attend a talk with Indian business delegations this morning and return home in the afternoon.
Following an invitation, Sheikh Hasina started the visit and spent a very eventful time holding dialogue with her counterpart and signing agreements.
She cooked ‘steamed Hilsa’, a delicacy among the Bangali cuisines, for Indian President Pranab Mukherjee at the Rashtrapati Bhavan.
On the second day of her visit, she took the helm of the kitchen at the Rashtrapati Bhavan and cooked the delicious fish item for the President.
Six chefs are among the entourage of Sheikh Hasina. They cooked most of the items for the dinner. Bangladesh premier cooked steamed Hilsa which was also meant for West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee. But Mamata ate light foods instead of heavy meal. She is habituated to have dinner in late.
Bangladesh premier cut jokes with the West Bengal chief minister during dinner on Saturday night. Hasina asked Mamata “In the morning, you addressed me Apni, a Bengali word used to denote second person singular number and to address senior and respected person. From when did you start to call me Apni?” In reply, Mamata said, “I preferred to call you so to maintain courtesy in front of others.”
The instant visit of Sheikh Hasina is construed very important for both countries for cementing ties and boosting trades.
Narendra Modi assured the Bangladesh premier of quickly resolving long-stalled Teesta water sharing deal issue, which cannot be possible due to Mamata’s opposition.
Indian premier said the deal will be signed in the presence of West Bengal chief minister. Mamata underscored the need for uninterrupted flow of water of Torsa and Jaldhaka rivers to Bangladesh.
“Your problem is water, not Teesta. I am willing to look at any alternative proposal to address your issues,” she was quoted as telling the Bangladeshi PM in the presence of Modi.
She later reiterated her proposal at the Rashtrapati Bhavan in the evening. Mamata also mentioned that Torsa can be allowed to flow unhindered to Bangladesh.
Both countries signed dozens of agreements during one-on-one meeting between Sheikh Hasina and Narendra Modi on Saturday.