Bangladesh foreign minister AK Abdul Momen will visit Delhi this week for a bilateral Joint Consultative Commission (JCC) meeting that would help prepare for a trip by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in the coming months.

The visit is also significant since Bangladesh is among the Muslim majority countries that neither issued a statement nor summoned the Indian envoy over the remarks by the BJP spokespersons against the Prophet.

The JCC is expected to be held on or around June 18, according to people aware of the matter. The meeting, to be held after two years, will be co-chaired by the foreign ministers and will focus on issues including connectivity, river water sharing, investments and security partnership.

Last month, when Momen met his Indian counterpart S Jaishankar in Guwahati, he sought suggestions to import crude oil from Russia by managing sanctions as Bangladesh is also keen to ensure energy security.

The last JCC meeting was held virtually in September 2020. The two countries have also launched several connectivity initiatives, including the revival of rail links that were halted after the 1965 India-Pakistan war and river routes that provide access to Bangladeshi ports for north-eastern states. Bangladesh is emerging as a connectivity link between Northeast India and Southeast Asia after connectivity through Myanmar came to standstill following the 2021 coup.

Besides trade and connectivity, the other issues that are expected to figure in the JCC meeting are security matters, development cooperation, and consular and cultural issues. The two sides are also expected to discuss ways to increase train services and flights to facilitate the large number of Bangladeshi travellers who come to India for tourism and medical treatment.

Jaishankar was in Dhaka in April and last year both the President and PM visited Dhaka despite the Covid-19 crisis to mark 50 years of diplomatic relations with Bangladesh, while also commemorating the birth centenary of Bangladesh founder Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.

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