Prime Minister Narendra Modi began his two-day tour of Bangladesh on Friday. The prime minister is visiting the country on the occasion of golden jubilee of Bangladesh’s independence and the birth centenary of its first President Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.

On Friday morning, Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina received Modi at the Dhaka airport. This is Modi’s first foreign visit since the outbreak of coronavirus pandemic last year.

Modi and Hasina will hold delegation-level talks in the next two days, according to PTI. The prime minister will also meet the neighbouring country’s President Abdul Hamid, his office said in a release on Thursday.

“My visit will not only be an occasion to convey appreciation for Bangladesh’s remarkable economic and developmental strides under Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s visionary leadership, but also to commit India’s abiding support for these achievements,” Modi said in the release.

He will also visit the Jashoreshwari Temple in Satkhira district and Orakandi Temple in Gopalganj district of Bangladesh.

‘Will not develop ties with China at expense of India’

Meanwhile, ahead of Modi’s visit, Bangladesh foreign affairs adviser Gowher Rizvi said that the country will not develop a relation with China, at the expense of its ties with India, The Indian Express reported.

“Our relationship with China is not a zero-sum game,” Rizvi told The Indian Express. “That if we develop a relationship with China, it must be at the expense of India. Absolutely not…our relationship with China is very much confined to investments and development projects.”

Rizvi said that Bangladesh will not borrow more than what it can repay from China, and cited examples of nations like Sri Lanka and Djibouti to drive home his point. “We know how to guard our sovereignty...We became an independent state through a war of liberation,” Rizvi said.

He also dismissed concerns that Bangladesh’s bilateral ties with India might get affected due to the implementation of the National Register for Citizens, adding that it was India’s “internal exercise”.

“And if even a small percentage of the number that are being claimed [as undocumented migrants] turned out to be Bangladeshis...genuinely Bangladeshis, obviously their home is Bangladesh,” Rizvi said. “We will take them back.”