President Pranab Mukherjee will address the Bangladesh Parliament in Bengali during his 3-5 March visit to that country. This will be Mukherjee’s first visit abroad after taking over as President in July 2012. Political circles in Bangladesh have been wanting the Indian President to use his, and their, mother tongue while delivering the address and a source in the Rashtrapati Bhavan confirmed that the speech will be made in Bengali.
During the tour the President will also visit his wife’s ancestral home in Narail, the source confirmed. Mukherjee’s wife Shubhra was born in Bhadrabila village in Khulna’s Narail district. Some of the President’s in-laws still reside in the area. Earlier this month, Indian officials led by High Commissioner Pankaj Saran visited Narail and the home of Shubhra Mukherjee’s maternal uncle in Chasra village to make preparations for the President’s visit. They also visited Narail Government Boys School. The President is expected to take a helicopter to reach Narail from Dhaka on the morning of 5 March.
During the visit, Bangladesh plans to honour Mukherjee for his contribution to the Liberation War of 1971. Dhaka is also expected to insist on signing the Teesta water sharing accord, which has been held up because of opposition from West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee. Bangladesh also expects India to start implementing the land boundary accord the two neighbours signed in September 2011.