India’s move to invite Hasina for G20 maybe a masterstroke ahead of elections in Bangladesh

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    G20 in Delhi
    The world is gearing up for G20 in Delhi

    India’s special invitation to Bangladesh as a guest for the G20, this year has boosted New Delhi’s image in the neighbouring country while expanding goodwill. Bangladesh’s participation in G20 comes amid US’ increased watch over Dhaka as general elections approach.

    Earlier, this year, Washington had threatened visa restrictions against Bangladeshis who undermined the democratic election process at home.

    Notwithstanding these issues coming up, New Delhi has remained on course with its bilateral dealings with Bangladesh.

    Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, who will arrive in New Delhi on Friday to attend the G20 summit, will hold a bilateral meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi prior to the mega event.

    “This is a message to the West that India will continue to follow its own foreign policy trajectory based on its own assessment. The Modi-Hasina meeting is of special importance as it is slated to take place before the Prime Minister’s meeting with US President Joe Biden,” a foreign policy analyst told India Narrative. The meeting also reflects India’s focus on its Neighbourhood First policy while strengthening New Delhi’s role in the Global South.

    “We believe that our honourable Prime Minister’s participation at the G20 Summit in New Delhi will add yet another feather to the ‘Sonali Adhyay’ or ‘Golden Chapter’ of our bilateral relations,” Bangladesh’s Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen said.

    Bangladesh’s participation in G20 has given Hasina a platform to showcase Dhaka as a pivotal point in the Indo Pacific policy frame. Right after the G20 summit, French President Emmanuel Macron will visit Dhaka. Macron will be the first French President to be visiting the country in over three decades. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov too will be in Dhaka on a two day visit just before the G20 summit. Back home, Bangladesh’s participation in the G20 summit will give Hasina a huge edge.

    This is the first time Bangladesh has been part of the G20 forum. But that is not all. It is the only South Asian nation to have been invited for the G20. Naturally, Bangladesh sees this as a special honour. Bangladesh’s participation in G20 meetings throughout the year has pushed its narrative on the global stage, amid Dhaka’s preparations to exit the list of the least developed countries by 2026.

    Andalib Elias, Bangladesh Deputy High Commissioner in Kolkata in an interview to ANI last month said, “We are an invited country but we have been actively participating in G20. This year, we have seen that India has taken G20 to a newer and higher level. As the President, India has achieved new goals and targets.”

    Elias noted that while Bangladesh is not a member of G20, the decisions taken at the summit will have an impact the world over.

    “When one of our closest friends becomes the President of that organisation, that definitely helps us in multiple ways,” he added.

    Besides Bangladesh, Egypt, Mauritius, Nigeria, Oman, Singapore, Spain, Netherlands, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) have also been invited.

    (This article was first published in India Narrative)

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