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Outcomes of Visit of Chief Minister of West Bengal to Bangladesh

Mamata Banerjee, Chief Minister of West Bengal, was on a goodwill visit to Bangladesh from February 19-21, 2015. She was accompanied by a high-level delegation comprising of Ministers, Members of Parliament, Cultural Personalities and Senior Officials.

During the visit, she interacted with eminent litterateurs and cultural personalities of India and Bangladesh at ‘Baithaki Bangla’. The participants, including Mr. Asaduzzaman Noor, Minister of Cultural Affairs of Bangladesh discussed ways and means of increasing cultural exchanges for deepening ties between the both countries.

At a reception hosted by Indian High Commissioner to Bangladesh, she interacted with a cross section of political parties, civil society and media. She along with Mr. Tofail Ahmed, Minister of Commerce of Bangladesh presided over a well attended business event organized by the India-Bangladesh Chamber of Commerce and Industry and Indian Chamber of Commerce, Kolkata.

Chief Minister called on H.E President Md. Abdul Hamid. President Hamid fondly remembered his recent visit to India and Kolkata, in particular. They discussed several initiatives for strengthening people-to-people contact, including tourism, connectivity, film production and sub-regional cooperation.

Chief Minister held detailed discussions with H.E Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on various issues of mutual interest to the State of West Bengal and Bangladesh, including cross border links, trade and culture.

Chief Minister conveyed West Bengal Government’s commitment to the Land Boundary Agreement and Protocol. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina thanked Chief Minister for her support in this regard. Chief Minister and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina held positive discussions on the Teesta Water issue.

Chief Minister conveyed that there are some technical issues that needed resolution so as to ensure that the matter is resolved in a way that benefits both sides and safeguards the welfare of the populations that are dependent on the Teesta waters.

Both leaders expressed their strong commitment on combating terrorism and reiterated their policy of zero tolerance against terrorism.

Both the leaders agreed to augment cultural interaction by adopting several measures, including holding of Joint Cultural Festivals and Joint Film Festivals. They also agreed to constitute a Joint Committee to promote cultural cooperation between West Bengal and Bangladesh. Chief Minister informed that Government of West Bengal is constituting a Bangabandhu Chair in Kolkata University.

She extended an offer of a plot of land in Kolkata for Bangladesh to build a Bangabandhu Bhaban, for use by Bangladeshi nationals visiting Kolkata for medical treatment. Chief Minister invited Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to visit West Bengal, for inaugurating the Bangabandhu Chair in Kolkata University and Bangladesh Bhaban in Shantiniketan, which she graciously accepted.

Chief Minister and her delegation paid homage at midnight to the language martyrs at the Central Shaheed Minar on the occasion of ‘Amar Ekushey’. She also visited Bangabandhu Memorial Museum to pay homage to Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.

Announcements made by Mamata Banerjee, Hon’ble Chief Minister of West Bengal at ‘Baithaki Bangla’, on 20 February 2015 in Dhaka

• Setting up of Bangabandhu Bhaban in Kolkata for use of Bangladesh citizens who travel to West Bengal for medical treatment, etc.
• Annual India-Bangladesh Film Festival
• Annual India-Bangladesh Cultural and Classical Music Festival
• Bangabandhu Chair in Kolkata University
• Establishment of a Joint Cultural Committee
• Donation of 500 books to International Mother Language Institute in Dhaka
• Explore possibility of using Aurobindo Bhaban, 8 Shakespeare Sarani, Kolkata as memorial for Mujibnagar Government.

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