Prime Minister Narendra Modi will host his Bangladeshi counterpart, Sheikh Hasina, at Rabindranath Tagore’s abode, Shantiniketan — about160 km from Kolkata — on Friday.

Modi will address the convocation of the Visva-Bharati University. The Prime Minister is the Chancellor of the university. Hasina is a special invitee in this year’s convocation. West Bengal Chief Minister, Mamata Banerjee, will also grace the occasion.

After the convocation, the two Prime Ministers will inaugurate the Bangladesh Bhavan, built by the Bangladesh government.

Bangladesh Bhavan

Located within the Visva-Bharati campus, the Bangladesh Bhavan is constructed at at cost of ₹25 crore. Another ₹10 crore will be handed over to the university for maintenance and upkeep.

The 9,000-sq-ft facility will house a museum, library and a seminar hall. The library will house 6000 books, a collection of e-books and a multimedia collection.

The museum will have sections on freedom struggle in undivided India; Bangladesh’s Liberation War in 1971 and its struggle for Bengali language and; on the influence of Rabindranath Tagore on Bangladesh.

The national anthem of both the nations was written by Tagore.

Bilateral talks

The two leaders are expected to engage discussions on the sidelines of the official programmes.

Bangladesh’s Cultural Affairs Minister, Asaduzzaman Noor, expects Teesta-water sharing and Rohingya issues to feature prominently in the discussion between the two Prime Ministers.

According to Noor, the Central government of India did not raise any objection to the water-sharing pact.. He thinks Mamata Banerjee’s objections could be resolved through dialogue. Resolution, however, may take time.

“Teesta is a problem for all of us . The Chief Minister of West Bengal will be present tomorrow, so hopefully this issue (of Teesta) will be discussed.

These issues take time and hopefully this will be resolved in due course of the time,” he said.

This apart, the two leaders may take up issues relating to improved rail and water connectivity between the two nations, Noor added.

Hasina’s itinerary

From Santiniketan, Hasina will return to Kolkata. On May 26, she will visit the Kazi Nazrul Islam University in Asansol (200 km from Kolkata) to receive honorary D.Lit.

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