Bangladesh and India are preparing to sign around 30 deals and memorandums of understanding during an upcoming visit by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to India which is being seen as vital by both sides.
A five-year MoU on defence cooperation and four other related documents are ready to be signed by the two nations during the April 7-10 visit, UNB reported quoting diplomatic sources.
When asked about a potential defence cooperation pact, a diplomat told UNB that there has been significant cooperation and collaboration between India and Bangladesh in many ways in this particular area, with lots of exchanges and joint exercises.
Any further institutional arrangements the two countries will conclude will only be in keeping with the close cooperation currently shared in this area, he said, wishing to remain anonymous.
Meanwhile, Foreign Secretary M Shahidul Haque chaired a meeting at the Foreign Ministry in Dhaka on Sunday in which various aspects of the visit was discussed, ministry sources said.
A ministry official disclosed that the number of deals and MoUs might increase or decrease at the final stage.
He said the visit will give more dimension to the growing cooperation between the two South Asian countries.
The four-day visit comes seven years after Sheikh Hasina's previous visit to India in January 2010, and almost two years after Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to Bangladesh in June 2015.
During Modi's June 6-7, 2015 Dhaka visit, the two countries had intended to make their relations more multidimensional through a joint declaration, “Notun Projonmo - Nayi Disha.”
According to the Foreign Ministry, Sheikh Hasina will hold an official talk with her Indian counterpart in New Delhi on April 8.
A diplomat said Bangladesh is now looking to Modi’s leadership in signing the Teesta water-sharing agreement as agreed between Dhaka and Delhi in 2011, terming water "a very sensitive and crucial issue in Bangladesh-India relations".
Government officials here remain resolute that Teesta is not a precondition for the visit but Bangladesh remains hopeful that the Teesta issue will be resolved timely.
Water Resources Minister Anisul Islam Mahmud said: "I'm hopeful about the Teesta water-sharing agreement, but it is impossible to say on what day it will be signed."
Road Transport and Bridges Minister Obaidul Quader, also the Awami League general secretary, said on Friday that the signing of the Teesta water sharing deal with India is a matter of time.
"All processes to that end are near completion, and it will be signed at an appropriate time," he said.