Dhaka, July 14: Visiting Indian Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Saturday inaugurated here the world’s largest state-of-the-art visa centre, equipped with a range of modern facilities and, promising shorter waiting times for applicants, and also discussed a range of bilateral and regional issues of mutual concerns, including menace of terrorism, with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.
“Inaugurated the state of the art Indian Visa Application Centre (IVAC) at Dhaka. With the opening of this centre the processing of visa applications will be simplified,” he tweeted after the inauguration.
The integrated centre at Jamuna Future Park (JFP) was inaugurated jointly by Rajnath Singh and his his Bangladeshi counterpart Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal, reports bdnews24.
Indian High Commissioner Harsh Vardhan Shringla, who was also present, told the media that “this is the largest Indian visa centre in the world and possibly the largest anywhere”.
The new centre will replace the existing centres in Motijheel and Uttara from July 15.
The remaining two centres in Dhaka — at Gulshan and Mirpur Road — will also be shifted to this centre, located in a spacious 18,500 square feet commercial area, by August 31.
The existing e-token (appointment) system for submission of visa applications will also be withdrawn from July 15.
Bangladeshis constitute one of the largest numbers of visitors from a single country to India, the report said. Last year the country issued 1.4 million visas to Bangladeshi nationals.
India has 12 visa centres in Bangladesh, which is the highest number it has in any country, the report said.
India issues five-year multiple entry visas for freedom fighters, senior citizens and businessmen.
Before the inauguration of the visa centre, Rajnath Singh held a meeting with Hasina, where they discussed several key bilateral issues.
“Had an extremely fruitful meeting with the Prime Minister of Bangladesh, H.E. (Her Excellency) Sheikh Hasina in Dhaka today (Saturday). We discussed a range of bilateral and regional issues of mutual interest,” he said in another tweet.
In the meeting, Rajnath Singh told her that it was possible to uproot militancy and terrorism if all the countries in the region join their hands.
Emphasising that dialogue between both the countries had helped in settling several outstanding issues, including the land and boundary agreement, Hasina said: “We expect that the other issues will be sorted out through talks as well.”
She reiterated Bangladesh’s stand of not allowing its soil to be used by terrorists to carry out their activities against any other country.
Rajnath Singh will co-chair the 6th India-Bangladesh home minister-level talks on Sunday along with his Bangladeshi counterpart in which issues tied to security, border management, cooperation in countering illegal activities and travel arrangements are expected to be discussed.
His three-day visit is taking place in the context of the Home-Minister level talks held on a regular basis between India and Bangladesh, the Indian High Commission in Dhaka said.
The last such talks were held in New Delhi in July 2016.
On Friday, Rajnath Singh tweeted that India and Bangladesh have made “notable progress in transforming our land and maritime boundaries into zones of peace and tranquillity”.