PM Modi, Sheikh Hasina to jointly inaugurate Maitree Power Project
Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina will come to India on a three-day visit in the first week of September. During the visit, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Hasina will jointly launch the 1320 MegaWatt Maitree Super Thermal Power Station. The coal-fired station billed as Bangladesh's largest, is being built by Bangladesh-India Friendship Power Company Limited, a partnership between India's NTPC and Bangladesh PDB.
Why does this story matter?
The Maitree Super Thermal Power Project, a 50:50 joint project between India's National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) and Bangladesh Power Development Board (PDB) is worth $1.5 billion. Dhaka is considered one of India's closest friends, thus the Modi government has given Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's visit the highest priority. PM Hasina is anticipated to visit India between September 5-7.
Trial runs to be conducted before Hasina's visit
Before PM Hasina's arrival in Delhi, test runs connecting Kolkata-Chattogram-Mongla ports enabling India-Bangladesh trade would commence, ushering in a new era in the relationship between the two countries. The first vessel from Kolkata would reportedly arrive in Mongla's Pashur river on August 5. This endeavor will generate alternate, cheaper ways for India to reach its North-Eastern region, while simultaneously transferring export-import cargo to Bangladesh.
India has permitted crucial wheat sales to Bangladesh via Dinajpur
As a strong ally of India, the Centre has also permitted the sale of much-needed wheat to Bangladesh via Hili Land Port in Dinajpur. As a result, the price of wheat has decreased, alleviating Dhaka's inflationary concerns. Nearly 66% of Bangladesh's wheat comes from India, while its imports 15% from Ukraine annually, which has been severely affected by the ongoing Ukrainian war with Russia.
What is Bangladesh's economic situation?
Although Bangladesh has applied for a loan from the IMF, Sheikh Hasina's administration is making headway with the country's plan to increase its economy by more than 6% this year. Dhaka, like other Indian subcontinent countries, has been impacted by the US dollar (USD) strengthening, making exports more expensive. However, Bangladesh Taka is holding against the USD compared to Pakistani or Sri Lankan Rupee.
Islamic radicalism has developed in Bangladesh
While Bangladesh has reportedly prospered under Sheikh Hasina's leadership, Islamic radicalism has developed in Bangladesh, with the Muslim Brotherhood offshoot Jamait-e-Islami playing a key role in border areas and organizing attacks against the Hindu minority. To add further fuel, Rohingya immigrants have been infiltrated by Pakistan-based terrorist organizations such as Lashkar-e-Taiba in order to cause issues for the liberal secular governing Awami League party.