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India continued to constructively engage with Bangladesh on a broad spectrum of bilateral issues during the year. EAM Shri Pranab Mukherjee visited Bangladesh in February 2009, after the Awami League led Grand Alliance won an overwhelming majority in the general elections of December 2008 and formed the government under the premiership of Sheikh Hasina. The other high level visits included visits of Bangladesh Army Chief, Gen. Moeen from 24 February – 1 March 2008, MoS for Commerce and Power Jairam Ramesh to Dhaka in October 2008 including that of Chief of Army Staff, Gen. Deepak Kapoor.

India took several initiatives, many unilaterally, to bring the two countries closer. They included restarting of the passenger train service ‘Maitree’ Express between Kolkata and Dhaka after 43 years. India gave substantial assistance to Bangladesh to overcome damages caused by natural disasters like cyclone. India started providing duty free access to exports from LDCs in the SAARC including Bangladesh from 1 January 2008 (except some items on India’s sensitive list). India has undertaken a project to construct Kalabhaban for the Department of Theatre and Music, University of Dhaka. As a move to check the activities of Indian Insurgent Groups (IIGs) on Bangladeshi soil, the two sides revived the Joint Working Group.

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