It may be recalled that PM Modi had already spoken to Afghan President Ashraf Ghani about a week ago.
New Delhi: On New Year’s Day, Prime Minister Narendra Modi reached out to several south Asian leaders including Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, telling her that "progress of the close India-Bangladesh ties is a priority of his government". The phone call to the Bangladesh Prime Minister is being significant, given the recent controversy over the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) in India and concerns being expressed in some quarters over the possible impact of that controversy on India-Bangladesh ties. Bangladesh has been a very close friend of India in the recent past during the tenures of Sheikh Hasina as Prime Minister.
In a statement, the MEA said, "Speaking with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, the Prime Minister, inter alia, congratulated her on being re-elected as the president of the Awami League for the next three years. The Prime Minister also expressed his condolence on the untimely demise of former high commissioner of Bangladesh to India Syed Muazzem Ali. The Prime Minister noted the progress achieved in India-Bangladesh relations in 2019. He also stated that the upcoming birth-centenary of Bangabandhu (Sheikh Mujibur Rehman) and 50 years of the Liberation of Bangladesh and establishment of bilateral diplomatic ties provided important milestones to further progress of the close India-Bangladesh ties, which is a priority of his government."
Apart from this, phone calls were made by PM Modi — as part of India’s commitment to the "Neighbourhood First" policy — to almost all leaders of the Saarc nations except Pakistan. Apart from Bangladesh, Phone calls were also made to leaders of Bhutan, Nepal, Sri Lanka and the Maldives. It may be recalled that PM Modi had already spoken to Afghan President Ashraf Ghani about a week ago.
Pakistan PM Imran Khan was ignored for obvious reasons due to the current dismal state of Indo-Pak ties. On Wednesday, the MEA said, "On the occasion of the New Year, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday had telephone conversation with Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck, The Druk Gyalpo of Kingdom of Bhutan and Mr Lyonchhen (Dr) Lotay Tshering, Prime Minister of hutan, Gotabaya Rajapaksa, President and Mahinda Rajapaksa, Prime Minister of Sri Lanka, Ibrahim Mohamed Solih, President of the Maldives, Ms Sheikh Hasina, Prime Minister of Bangladesh and Mr K.P. Sharma Oli, Prime Minister of Nepal.