India relaxes tourist visa norms for Bangladeshi nationals

Visiting Indian External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj met Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and handed over a letter of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, inviting her to visit India.

PTI| Last Updated: Jun 26, 2014, 16:12 PM IST

Zee Media Bureau

Dhaka: Visiting Indian External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on Thursday met Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and handed over a letter of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, inviting her to visit India.

Swaraj met Hasina at the latter`s office at 11:30 am.

"Swaraj handed over the letter during a meeting at the Prime Minister`s office," Xinhua quoted Bangladeshi Foreign Minister Mahmood Ali as telling reporters.

Ali also said that India would relax tourist visa norms for Bangladeshi nationals below 13 and above 65 years of age. Ahead of Swaraj`s visit, India had stated that there was no proposal on the table to provide visa-free travel to Bangladeshi nationals.
Swaraj had called on Hasina to discuss key bilateral issues, sources said.

According to the sources, they discussed trade and investment, security, connectivity, and border management, among other issues.

Bilateral issues between the two countries came up for discussion during the meeting, which lasted for about one hour.

Before meeting Hasina, Swaraj met Bangladeshi Foreign Minister Abul Hassan Mahmood Ali at 10 am for official talks and discussed bilateral issues.

"India, Bangladesh begin discussion on entire gamut of bilateral relations," India`s External Affairs Ministry spokesman Syed Akbaruddin tweeted.
Swaraj discussed Land Boundary Agreement (LBA), proposed Teesta river water sharing deal and the issue of illegal immigration. She was assisted by Foreign Secretary Sujatha Singh and senior ministry officials during her talks with Ali at the Foreign Office here.

Swaraj is also scheduled to meet Bangladesh President Abdul Hamid at Bangabhaban at 6 pm today.

This is her first official visit abroad as the External Affairs Minister.

Swaraj will also meet Bangladesh`s Leader of Opposition Raushan Ershad, BNP chairperson Khaleda Zia and prime minister`s advisers Gowher Rizvi and Mashiur Rahman before leaving for India on Friday.

(With IANS inputs)