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Dhaka-Delhi Should Move Forward Jointly

  • Jayanta Ghosal
  • 15th March, 2022 06:23:01 PM
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Presently, Third World War is a much-talked-about issue. Efforts are underway to bring an end to the war between Russia and Ukraine, but it does not work. The decision of ceasefire is being adopted, but it is not later followed. It is a peculiar situation. On one side, the US stands by Ukraine. On other side, there is no respite from Russian attack. Ukraine has been devastated. Lots of people are dying. And in such a situation, in this sub-continent where we live, India did not oppose Ukraine as yet. It is not telling that attack on Ukraine is a right decision. But at the UN, it is not voting against Russia as per will of the US. That means, it has abstained from voting against Russia. There is only one reason which is that an axis has been created between Russia and China.

In recent times, Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan toured China. Firstly, he went to China and afterwards to Russia. In the perspective of Sino-Pak axis and friendship with Russia, will it be the Indian foreign policy to go to an argument with China? Rather it is being observed that China too is trying to cool down the heat of the war. Cooling down the heat, an initiative is being taken to hold a bilateral dialogue with India.

What is true is that the foreign secretary-level Indo-Pak talks on the border have been stalled for long. It is yet to be revived. As long as terrorism is not contained, we shall not go for talks with Pakistan. India sits idle taking this decision. But this is not the policy with China. Taking a new initiative, we have resumed dialogue with China. On one side, talks are being resumed with China, but, alongside, we are unable to keep complete confidence on China. As Mauritius has joined the Quadrilateral security dialogue, the Chinese initiative in South China Sea faces resistance in an area stretching from Japan to Mauritius. The US too lends support from a distant place. Therefore, the foreign policy is not at a single stage or of one dimension. That means, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs deals with 10 issues all at a time.

On one side, efforts are underway to lessen enmity with China, while on other side it will not be proper to forget the Chinese attitude of rivalry and indulge in a 'love affair.' Such type of mentality will not be that diplomacy. So, it is essential to move consciously.    

Former Indian Foreign Secretary and National Security Adviser JN Dixit once observed that our Chinese policy should be like 'snake in the garden policy.' That means what is the proper work of a gardener? He will have to take care of the garden. But he must have to keep in mind regarding existence of snake in the garden. So, it is imperative to keep a stick at hand. We should adopt the same attitude towards China.

I have mentioned this to make the readers understand the Indian attitude towards China. The reason is that India became a victim a few days ago. China entered the Indian territory. Being enthroned as the prime minister, Narendra Modi was soothing Chinese President Xi. It is not an injustice. But what China has done? It has raided breaching the faith. Till now, China did not completely withdraw its troops.  It is not telling for friendship.

Recently, China passed a comment following the Ukraine incident which seems to be positive. Their spokesperson has informed that it is of utmost necessity to strengthen Sino-Indian ties. To destroy this relationship, a few anti-Indian countries have become vocal. Maybe China tried to persuade the US so that it lessens dependability on India. India is yet to become a member of NATO. Despite pressure to become a member of NATO, India did not accept its membership. To India, it is an important moment.

India maintains the same relationship with Bangladesh. As per its foreign policy, India always intends to move forward keeping Bangladesh on its side.

A diplomat of the south block has observed that sometimes the diplomacy of Bangladesh resembles the way of UK's foreign ministry which lends support to the USA or the way the British Prime Minister lends his support to the US. There is no difference between the foreign policies of the US and the UK. If we analyse the Indo-Bangladesh ties then I think there is a simplification while citing the example.

Bangladesh is an independent and sovereign country. It maintains a good relation with China. There is a bilateral pact in the field of defence for a long period. Sheikh Hasina paid a visit to China. Pakistan even tries to restore ties with Bangladesh although it is a tough task. The reason is the Liberation War of Bangladesh in 1971. The freedom fighters of Bangladesh have taught a good lesson to Pakistan. Pakistan is yet to publicly beg pardon for its injustice, autocracy and armed aggression that it has committed during the period. How will it be then if Pakistan gives an announcement that it has done an injustice by waging the war in 1971? But will it be possible on the part of Pakistan? In that case, the politics of Pakistan will turn towards a different direction. But that is not an easy task.

In today's socio-economic condition, when the entire world is inflicted by coronavirus then no war should occur. All of us are telling the same thing. Common people do not want it at all. In the meantime, oil prices have soared. Prices of other commodities are on the rise. Now, most of the countries are nuclear powers. So, in such a situation a war-like situation is not desirable. I think there is an urgency of Sino-Indian friendship. In friendship, there might be signs of distrust. But because of distrust, we should not go towards much enmity which goes against civilisation and humanity. Now, it is essential to push forward bilateral dialogue with China where Bangladesh should be kept on-board. We shall have to inform everything to Bangladesh and move forward jointly.

The writer is a senior journalist based in New Delhi Translated by Z A M Khairuzzaman