Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina of Bangladesh displayed her signature diplomatic gesture by sending mangoes as gifts to several prominent figures, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi, President Droupadi Murmu, Congress leader Sonia Gandhi, Nagaland Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio, and other Chief Ministers of the North East on 13 June.

 

This tradition of gifting mangoes and other delicacies from Dhaka with her Indian counterparts highlights Hasina’s commitment to fostering strong bilateral relationships. This year, she also sent Himsagar and Langra mangoes to former Congress president Ms. Gandhi, with whom she shares a long-standing association.

 

An official from the Bangladesh Deputy High Commission, quoted by PTI, confirmed the dispatch of mangoes, stating, “Mangoes comprising the ‘Himsagar’ and ‘Langra’ variants have been sent to Banerjee as part of diplomatic efforts. Last year, too, we sent mangoes.”

 

Mango

 

Chief Minister Rio expressed his gratitude on Twitter, stating, “I’m honored to receive the finest quality mangoes from the Hon’ble PM of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh, H.E Sheikh Hasina,” and expressed hope for further strengthening of India-Bangladesh relations.

 

This annual tradition, initiated by Prime Minister Hasina in the 1990s, gained prominence when she gifted famous hilsa fish to prominent Indian leaders, including Jyoti Basu, the then Chief Minister of West Bengal.

 

Prime Minister Hasina is expected to visit India for the G20 Summit.

 

The mango diplomacy

The act of exchanging mangoes has been a customary practice among countries in the region. India’s first Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, even presented mangoes as gifts to China’s Mao Zedong.

 

Mango diplomacy has also been observed within Indian domestic politics. In the past, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has gifted Himsagar mangoes to her political opponents as a gesture of goodwill to ease tensions. Interestingly, ‘Himsagar’ aptly translates to ‘an ocean of soothing ice.’

 

The mango diplomacy serves to strengthen the already solid relationship and friendship between Bangladesh and India, while also fostering goodwill for resolving key outstanding issues such as the Teesta water-sharing agreement.

 

Mokokchung Times

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