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Friday, January 5, 2024

Anti-India activity won’t be tolerated: B’desh minister ahead of elections

Ahead of Sunday’s general elections in Bangladesh, the country’s Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan asserted that Dhaka will never permit its territory to be used for any anti-India activity or terrorism, as long as the Awami League is in power.

The senior minister in the Sheikh Hasina government also expressed confidence that Chinese investments in his country should not be a cause for concern, emphasising that nothing can be compared to the enduring Indo-Bangladesh relations, that are set to strengthen further in the coming days.

In a telephonic interview with PTI from Dhaka, Khan stated that the Awami League government is for free and fair general elections on January 7, and claimed that the main opposition BNP has boycotted the polls “out of fear” of not securing a majority.

The Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) has boycotted the elections after the Awami League refused to cede power to a caretaker government to conduct the polls.

“The BNP and Jamaat, during their tenure, had given shelter to anti-India divisive forces in the northeastern states of India. After we came to power, we eradicated them. As long as we (Awami League) are in power, Bangladesh will never allow its territory to be used for any anti-India activity, terrorists, or divisive forces,” he said.

Highlighting the close ties developed with India by the Awami League government, Khan claimed that the relations between the two neighbours have always suffered and minorities have faced atrocities whenever the BNP came to power.

When asked whether bilateral relations with India would be affected if the Awami League is not in power in Bangladesh, he asserted, “Of course, it will. In the past, we have seen that this has happened.”

Discussing Indo-Bangla relations, Khan said, “India has been a friend in need for Bangladesh Our relationship with India is special, and the role it played during the Bangladesh Liberation War has always been lauded by us.”

Regarding the “growing closeness” between Dhaka and Beijing, Khan said that the ties between India and Bangladesh cannot be compared with any other relationship.

He said, “Our foreign policy is friendship with all and malice to none. So, we have relationships with all countries. China has made investments in power plants, infrastructure, and has engaged in aggressive marketing on the economic front. But the relationship with India is different, and this won’t have any impact on Indo-Bangla relations,” he said.

When asked about attacks on Hindus, who are a minority in Bangladesh, the country’s home minister said, “The government has taken stern and prompt action against the miscreants.”

He continued, “We believe in secular ideals. We don’t believe in majority or minority. Whenever there has been any atrocity, we have taken stern action against the culprits. The Hindus constitute nearly 10 per cent of the population.”

Claiming that the ratio of crime against the Hindus is much less when compared to the overall crime, he said Unfortunately, those incidents (crimes against Hindus) get highlighted.”

Speaking on general elections in Bangladesh, Khan stated that the country will have free and fair elections.

“All arrangements have been made to ensure that people can vote freely. The BNP is apprehensive that it will never get a majority in the polls. The party has been losing public support with each passing day,” he said.

The Awami League has been in power in Bangladesh since 2008, and the polls are scheduled for January 7.

(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

James Mackreides
James Mackreides
'Mac' is a short tempered former helicopter pilot , now a writer based in Sofia, Bulgaria. Loves dogs, the outdoors and staying far away from the ocean.

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