Bangladeshi PM in Singapore for four-day visit

Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's first official visit to Singapore is the first such visit here by the country's head of government in over a decade.
Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's first official visit to Singapore is the first such visit here by the country's head of government in over a decade.PHOTO: REUTERS

SINGAPORE - Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina begins her first official visit to Singapore on Sunday (March 11) - the first such visit here by the country's head of government in over a decade.

The four-day visit, at the invitation of Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, will see Madam Hasina receive a ceremonial welcome at the Istana on Monday.

She will then call on President Halimah Yacob, before meeting PM Lee, who will also host an official lunch in Madam Hasina's honour, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said.

On Tuesday she will visit the Singapore Botanic Gardens, where an orchid will be named in her honour, as is custom for visiting dignitaries. She will then attend the Bangladesh-Singapore Business Federation forum, organised by the Singapore Business Federation.

Economic relations between Singapore and Bangladesh are on an upswing, with total trade rising from S$3.4 billion in 2013 to S$4.3 billion in 2017.

Singapore is Bangladesh's top source of foreign direct investment, with the Republic investing US$933.14 million there last year.

The visit will reaffirm strong ties between the two countries and build on their current partnership, with the inking of several agreements in fields such as business and air services expected.

Madam Hasina will be accompanied on her visit by her Minister for Foreign Affairs Abul Hassan Mahmood Ali, her State Minister for Power, Energy and Mineral Resources Nasrul Hamid, senior government officials, and a business delegation.

Mr Ali told local reporters that the visit is "politically important" as Singapore is Asean chairman this year. Madam Hasina will seek Singapore's cooperation to find a solution to the Rohingya crisis, he added.

Some 700,000 people from Myanmar's Rohingya community have fled over the border to Bangladesh since last August, following an army crackdown that the United Nations has said amounts to "ethnic cleansing".