Move Forward Indo-Bangladesh Ties

Jayanta Ghosal

5 April, 2021 12:00 AM printer

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi recently visited Bangladesh. It was a historic event. But, alongside strengthening of the positive Indo-Bangladesh ties, we have witnessed some painful incidents. When Narendra Modi went to Dhaka, some fundamentalist organisations chanted ‘Go Back Modi’ slogan. They not only chanted slogans against him, but also wanted his exit from Bangladesh. Bringing back memories of some past events, many of them said that Muslims are insecure in India that is being led by Narendra Modi. Then, why the Government of Bangladesh is giving him such hospitality as well as honouring him in this manner? Opposing the visit they not only staged demonstrations in Dhaka, but also in Chattogram and different parts of the country.

Not only Jamaat, but some other pro-fundamentalist organisations opposed Modi’s tour. These so-called Islamist organisations vie for expanding their influences in Muslim society of Bangladesh.  Sheikh Hasina, being the Prime Minister of Bangladesh and chief of Awami League, is striving to move forward the Indo-Bangladesh ties both economically and culturally. Bangladesh is proceeding along the path of secularism. Then there remains a question on the identity of them who are patronising the fundamentalist forces? Who are the persons working from behind the scene? It is the duty of journalists to dig out the secret behind the incident.

As per Indian Intelligence sources, Pakistan has played a major role behind the activities. At the moment, the Prime Minister of Pakistan, Imran Khan, is urging India for talks. Pakistan is sending messages that they want to resolve all unresolved problems. It even showed a soft attitude towards the Kashmir issue. The Pakistani army chief has also signalled positively by issuing statements. Then why is Pakistan did this in Bangladesh? Is it Pakistan’s dual strategy or dual policy? According to the foreign ministry sources and Indian diplomats, Pakistan is trying to come closer to US President Biden after his arrival.

Trump was dead against Pakistan. Following arrival of Biden, both India and Pakistan are trying to establish good ties with the US. So, there is a contest between the two countries about who would remain beside Biden. Because of this competitiveness, Narendra Modi too is strategically talking about dialogue with Pakistan to start a peace process. The reason is America wants India and Pakistan to sit in discussion to bring an end to conflict. Biden’s Democratic Party is also Obama’s party. We know the values and ideals of the party. From that point of view, Biden won’t take the extreme stance of opposing Pakistan like that of Trump. Even in relationship with China, the US will take a soft stance and has a desire to resolve the financial issues with the country. Pakistan wants to take a chance. But, alongside the peace process, Imran wants to weaken Modi during elections by accelerating Pakistani activities in Bangladesh. 

If a pressure can be created on Modi by giving indulgence to anti-BJP political parties, then a weak Modi will be good for Pakistan. That means on one side Pakistan wants to win Biden’s heart by starting the peace process while on the other side by weakening Modi in Bangladesh taking help from fundamentalists. They seem to think that a probability of talks with the Indian PM will increase as a result. In any negotiation, it is easier to negotiate with a person of weak personality. Mediation or political understanding with a very strong personality is tough enough. By weakening anyone, it is easier to bring him/her on the table of discussion. If someone is not weak then he/she will not want to sit for talks due to pride of power.

So, from this point of view, Pakistan is trying to utilise the situation in Bangladesh. Again what Pakistan is doing that is operational. Lots of people think that the brain behind the incident is China. As for reason, China has been able to intervene in Myanmar. It has also kept Sri Lanka under pressure by providing it with loan facilities. We are also witnessing how it is behaving in Bhutan. Again in Nepal, a situation of unrest prevails. All these are not favourable for India. An undesirable situation has been created in Nepal. Under the circumstance, Bangladesh is the lone sincere friend of India.   If Bangladesh can be taken to an anti-Indian stance and Modi can be angered and an anti-Bangladesh wind can be blown throughout India, then it will not only benefit the Islamist Jehadists but also the Sino-Pak axis. 

In such a situation, instead of being aggrieved with Bangladesh, the Sino-Pak axis and those who are involved in it are to be blamed. India is very active in this regard because this sort of incidence occurred earlier in Bangladesh. When Pranab Mukherjee, a guardian-like personality, toured Bangladesh then at that time also the same Islamist group opposed the visit. When former Indian PM Manmohan Singh went to Bangladesh, black flags were also shown to him.

So, this trend still prevails in Bangladesh. The only difference is that the Islamist forces were patronised during Khaleda’s regime. The reason is Jamaat-e-Islami was a partner of her cabinet. But, today, Sheikh Hasina is deftly handling these forces with political wisdom. She never held hostage the Indo-Bangladesh ties. This is the only ray of hope at the end of the dark tunnel.

Because of the fact, for the first time in the history of the region, a bridge has been constructed on a river of the two neighbouring states. Efforts are underway for establishing joint rail communications. The land boundary accord was signed. Even, Narendra Modi is determined to sign the Teesta accord. In this situation, a leader like Suvendu Adhikari attacked Bangladesh during West Bengal Vidhan Sabha elections, which does not suit to the diplomatic line of Narendra Modi. But, at that time, top BJP leaders thought it as a manifestation of temporary anger of indigenous mean politics being pursued by Suvendu Adhikari. It will never influence the Indo-Bangladesh ties in its greater perspective. In such a complex situation, the Indo-Bangladesh ties should be moved forward more consciously and more strongly. It is not only the responsibility of the heads of governments, but also of the general people of the two countries.       


The writer is a senior journalist of India

Translated by Z A M Khairuzzaman