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Putin meets Bangladeshi PM in Moscow
January 15, 2013, 3:34 pm


Bangladesh Prime Minister, Sheikh Hasina. [Getty Images]

The Bangladesh Prime Minister, Sheikh Hasina, is visiting Moscow for talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

It is the first time the head of Bangladesh has visited Moscow since 1972 when Sheikh Mujibur Rahman first visited the Soviet Union.

Putin expressed his hope that the documents signed during the meeting will foster the bilateral relations.

“Our colleagues have prepared a set of agreements and contracts for your visit; they will be a major step in the development of relations between our countries,” Putin said at the beginning of the meeting.

Russia has agreed to provide $500 million State Export Credit to Bangladesh to finance the preparatory stage of the Bangladeshi Rooppur Nuclear Power Plant.

The two sides have also signed an agreement to establish a Bangladeshi information agency on atomic energy.

The total cost of the nuclear plant construction is estimated to amount to $2 billion and will be finished by 2020-2021.

“This will be Bangladesh’s first nuclear plant and mark their admission into that select club of nuclear powered states,” says Mark Sleboda, Senior Lecturer and Researcher in the International Relations Department at Moscow State University.

By the same token Russia will provide Bangladesh with $1 billion to purchase Russian military equipment.

“For Russia, the visit of Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and the inked deals on loans to Bangladesh for defense purchases….must be seen in the context of Russia’s new foreign policy strategy during President Putin’s third term in office of an Asian Pivot,” Sleboda told The BRICS Post.

Overall the parties have signed six memorandums of understanding in different spheres.

The countries will work together on terrorism, law and justice, education and science and culture, along with co-operation in agriculture.

“This wise refocus of foreign policy attention away from a stagnant and debt-ridden Europe, mired in economic and political crises, has already been evidenced by Putin’s focus on the Eurasian Union,” added Sleboda.

Sheikh Hasina is also due to meet the Director General of Russia’s State Atomic Energy Corporation (ROSATOM), Sergey Kirienko.

She will later visit the Kremlin museum and the office of Gazprom.

Bilateral trade between Russia and Bangladesh is showing positive dynamics.

“We had more than 60 per cent growth the year before last and over 20 per cent growth last year. That is very good,” said Vladimir Putin.

The talks were also crowned with the announcement of Bangladeshi plans to join the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation as an observer – Russia has supported the initiative.

In turn Bangladesh would support Russia to become an observer state with the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation.

The two countries established diplomatic relations in 1972 when Bangladesh announced independence.

Daria Chernyshova