Dhaka watching region’s uneasy situation

Rezaul Karim

29 May, 2020 12:00 AM printer

Dhaka is closely observing the uneasy situation arising out of escalating tensions between China and India and Nepal and India over territorial disputes.  

It also closely is monitoring the rising tension between US and China as Beijing is apparently moving to tighten its control on Hong Kong.

Highly placed diplomatic sources here said Dhaka is worried about such tensions among its very close and friendly neighbours or partners amid the outbreak of Covid-19 pandemic which has unsettled the political, social, economic, religious and financial structures of the whole world.

They said though there is no possibility of any immediate effect of the tensions on Bangladesh, but it might have a serious impact on peace and stability of the region if the countries continued to escalate their aggressive attitudes instead of finding solutions across the table to resolve the disputes.

Diplomatic sources said Dhaka has decided not to take any side or make any comment right now considering the sensitivity of the issues. However, Dhaka like in the past will always be vocal for a peaceful solution to the disputes through dialogue.

The government has asked its missions in New Delhi, Beijing, Kathmandu, Washington DC and Hong Kong to send regular reports on the developments and assess the situation for its future course of action.

Talking to the Daily Sun, highly placed sources said Bangladesh is concerned about the escalating tensions in the region among its close neighbours and partners, while it is also cautious in making any comment as it maintains excellent relationship with all the four.

The boundary row between Nepal and India has escalated since the former’s publication of a new political and administrative map that incorporated all disputed territories. With prominent personalities on both sides trading barbs, officials and experts say that pressure has mounted on both Kathmandu and New Delhi to de-escalate and sit for talks. Delhi was quick to react on May 20 to Nepal’s release of the new map, which includes Kalapani, Lipulekh and Limpiyadhura within Nepali borders, calling it an “unjustified cartographic assertion”.

But a diplomatic dialogue is what Nepal has been pursuing since November 2019, when India revised its own political map in line with Delhi’s decision to divide Jammu and Kashmir into federal territories and placed Kalapani within its borders.

According to media reports in Nepal that India did not responded despite repeated calls for dialogue from Nepal. Foreign Minister Pradeep Gyawali has said that there’s still ample room for diplomatic dialogue.

“Such artificial enlargement of territorial claims will not be accepted by India,” said Anurag Srivastava, spokesperson for the Indian Ministry of External Affairs.

On the other hand, tensions between China and India over their Himalayan border have escalated, with China accused of moving thousands of troops into disputed territory and expanding a military airbase in the region.

The high-altitude border has been aggressively contested and heavily militarised since 1962 when China launched an offensive into Indian territory, sparking a short but bloody war.