HASINA’S VISIT TO INDIA

ALI SUKHANVER

‘We are monkeys whose strings are in the hands of the Indian extremists,’ an old factory worker in Dacca said talking to a reporter, ‘We are sold out to India—-we are a slave nation—.” He was asked to comment upon Hasina Wajid’s recent visit to India. Though from Hasina’s point of view this visit is a success story but for the people of Bangladesh, it is dawning of a new series of trials and tribulations. Hasina’s signing different pacts with India has given a rise to anger throughout Bangladesh.  BNP senior joint secretary Ruhul Kabir Rizvi said talking to media, “If Bangladesh adopts its defence policy as per India’s will; our independence will be at stake.” He alleged that the MoU was for the interest of ‘those who have remained in power using force in Bangladesh’. According to the Hindustan Times, during her recent visit to India Sheikh Hasina signed 22 pacts with India including pacts on opening transportation channels with progress signaled on defence and water-sharing deals. Three defence sector pacts were signed in the form of an umbrella framework agreement on various aspects of defence cooperation. Three other pacts aimed at aiding Bangladesh in various aspects of the civil nuclear energy programme, from setting up nuclear power units to addressing issues related to nuclear safety, were signed. The South-Asian Monitor said commenting upon the new development of relations between India and Bangladesh. ‘A large section of the people on the Bangladesh side, however, feels that the relationship lacks balance. The give-and-take, in their opinion, is more of all give and no take, with India on the receiving side. Whether it is trade, communications, diplomacy, cultural exchange or any other field, India somehow seems to get the upper hand. This is seen as a Big Brother syndrome.’

It is no doubt a very bitter reality that the government of Hasina Wajid is simply going against the whims and desires of the people of Bangladesh. For the honourable and egoistic people of Bangladesh, it is simply an insult that they are mastered by the Indians. Bangladesh is an independent country and the people of Bangladesh could never allow anyone to be the ruler of their fate. Sheikh Hasina is dealing the people of Bangladesh as they are her personal slaves who don’t have any ego or self-esteem. The leaders of main opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party are very much worried about defence pact with India because, according to them, the country would lose independence and sovereignty, if the government takes any ‘defence policy’ in line with Indian military strategy. The Bangladesh government, the Foreign Ministry and the Defence Ministry, all are still silent on this issue. Things have never been very pleasant between Bangladesh and India. They have been quarrelling on various conflicting issues since long, Teesta water-sharing pact is also one of such conflicting issues. For the last two decades India and Bangladesh have been negotiating the ‘bone of contention’ Teesta river water-sharing pact. After his recent meeting with his Bangladeshi counterpart Sheikh Hasina Prime Minister Narendra Modi looked hopeful for the early signing of the pact but the West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee spilt water on all his hopes by insisting that instead of Teesta, the Centre should look at other river systems to share water with Bangladesh. The Hindustan Times says, ‘The inability to ink Teesta pact will make it difficult for Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to keep the momentum in ties with India.  Moreover the ‘Centre’ cannot do much about Teesta so long as Mamata Banerjee does not play ball’. Analysts are of the opinion that in presence of Mamata Banerjee, it is next to impossible that the Teesta Water Pact is materialized. Mamata has ever been very much touchy regarding this pact. In a recent statement she said talking to the media, “There is very little water in Teesta River; it is our lifeline, the lifeline of North Bengal.” She further said addressing the two countries, “Your problem is water, not Teesta. I am willing to look at any alternate proposal to address your issues. What we can do is that there are many other rivers in the area (India-Bangladesh), we can use water from them.” In short, at public level, the condition of relationship between India and Bangladesh is not as friendly, cordial and relaxed as the premiers of the two countries are trying to express through their words. Let us see how long they succeed in befooling the world. Political analysts are of the opinion that Bangladesh is going to lose its identity soon; it is going to be a colonial state of India. The credit of deforming Bangladesh’s identity certainly goes to Sheikh Hasina.

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