The sixth meeting of the Indo-Bangladesh Joint Consultative Commission or JCC is going to be held today (September 29). Its previous meeting was held in New Delhi. During the fifth JCC meeting, Sushma Swaraj was the foreign minister of India. Foreign ministries of both India and Bangladesh issued a joint statement after the meeting. Three Memoranda of Understanding or MoU were signed at the meeting between Sushma Swaraj and the Bangladesh foreign minister. As per the MoU, major Hiranandani Group of India will jointly do the modernisation work of Mongla Port in Bangladesh. According to the second decision, the Central Bureau of Investigation or CBI of India will jointly work with Bangladesh to uproot corruption from various tiers of administration and social organisations. As per the third decision, India will arrange a special training course for mid-level government bureaucrats through discussion with Bangladesh. And its work has already begun.
After February last year, the meeting is going to be held again. For the time being, it may be presumed that the meeting is part of a series of signing deals and discussions. It is a routine work and a process. Indian Foreign Minister Dr S Jaishankar first talked to Bangladesh Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen over the phone. Indian Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla went to Dhaka to hold meeting with Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. At that time, it was agreed to hold the JCC meeting very soon to take forward the dialogue. For the time being it may be presumed to be a routine task during a period of global tense situation. Polling is imminent in the USA. China has taken an aggressive stance against India. The debate of aggression is yet to be resolved. Both India and Bangladesh are afflicted with coronavirus that has spread worldwide. The death toll is quite large. Many others are getting infected. Virtually the disease has turned into a pandemic. Because of social distancing, jobs are shrinking. People are in economic crisis. Poverty and joblessness are on the rise. Multifarious problems have gripped both the countries.In this situation, any person having sound mind will never want a war-like situation or create a background for conflict. But it is unfortunate to tell that such a situation has been created by Pakistan on the one side and China on the other. And India is concerned about the situation, but aware enough. Although India does not intend to go to war, yet it takes war preparations.
In this situation, an understanding between India and Bangladesh is more relevant. An effort is underway for transforming the world into a bi-polar one. Just at the moment, a bi-polar world has reappeared in South Asia. That is not a desirable situation for India. After 75 years of the United Nations this question has become relevant.
Amid the pandemic and economic crisis, death toll has crossed 10 lakh. Such a deep economic recession is unprecedented after three decades since the past century. In this situation inter-state cooperation is essential. So, Indo-Bangladesh cooperation is of utmost importance. Unfriendly attitude of big powers triggers polarisation. It was not observed during past decades.
The Secretary General of the UN has rightly cautioned the heads of states against a cold war. He gave a message that the world is heading towards a dangerous situation. Now the question is how do the big powers give importance to his cautionary message? A topic on political virus is now being discussed. Alongside coronavirus, political virus is also spreading. At the moment, India and Bangladesh are firmly determined to take forward their understanding to a level so that they can face the political virus.
Monday was the birthday of Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. She is determined to make Bangladesh a secular, non-communal developing country as desired by her celebrated father late Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. Today, the dream of the new generation of Bangladesh is a terrorism-free, war-free abode. The people of Bangladesh have freed their country after a blood-bath of the independence war. In the post-independence period, a good number of generations have been born. The new generation dreams of a modern Bangladesh. They are its builders. Every Ekushey Boi Mela, I try to go to Bangladesh. In the book fair, I have observed that many books on the Liberation War have been published. Publishers decorate their stalls with fresh new books containing new information. There I have noticed the portraits of Che Guevara, Fidel Castro or other prominent global revolutionaries alongside the portraits of freedom fighters on the book covers. Book lovers buy their books along with those of freedom fighters.
It means the people of Bangladesh have connected the history of their Liberation War and language movement with the independence struggles and freedom movements of the entire world. Today after so many years, international organisations like the World Bank or the International Monetary Organisation in their reports state that the GDP rate of Bangladesh is positive. Economists have opined that Bangladesh’s garments export is very optimistic. Despite coronavirus crisis, Bangladeshi businessmen have maintained the positive trend of garments exports. They are trying their best to maintain the trend overcoming bureaucratic tangles and maintaining proper coordination with the authorities of ports and various transport agencies.Among various issues, Sheikh Hasina has exhibited her strong determination to uproot terrorism. Like India, fundamentalists are present in Bangladesh too. Fundamentalists always try to disrupt peace in Bangladesh too. This fundamentalist force tries to infiltrate into Bangladesh amid publicity of different terrorist organisations as well political ones. From the very inception Sheikh Hasina assured that no anti-Indian terrorist activity would be allowed to operate on the soil of Bangladesh. Not only anti-Indian, global terrorism is an integral issue where Bangladesh is also attacked. There had been an effort to kill Sheikh Hasina. People still remember the incident of attack on military barracks. In such a situation, India gives due importance to Bangladesh’s geo-strategic position. India thinks this strategic partnership is not limited to economy only; rather it will be extended to more big areas. One will remain beside the other.
This JCC meeting is going to be held again where developmental issues will be discussed and old deals will be renewed. What is more important is warm bilateral relationship, people-to-people contact, political and diplomatic ties and heart-to-heart relationship. The relationship should be restored once again. What I tell is that servicing is a must in diplomacy. By this I mean repeated meetings, discussions and contacts. We are hopeful about grand success of the JCC meeting.
The writer is a senior journalist of India.
Translated by Z A M Khairuzzaman.