Friday, July 22, 2011

People were shocked at Indian PM's unkind remarks all persons, the most distinguished and veteran politician, Indian Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh had blasted a 'time-bomb' on Bangladesh and that too on the eve of his much-hyped official visit to this country. (He is coming on a two-day visit on 6 September next).

Talking to a group of Indian editors in New Delhi recently, Dr. Singh 'disclosed' unexpected allegations against Bangladesh, which holds the Indian leaders in high esteem for their valuable contribution in the creation of independent Bangladesh.
In fact, Bangladeshis were shocked at Dr. Singh's allegations that 25 per cent of Bangladeshi 'support Jamaat-i-Islami' and are 'anti-India' and they are working under the guidance of Pakistan's Intelligence Service, ISI. It is not clear how a veteran politician like him could make such ridiculous remarks about a neighbour that believes in secular democracy. It seems that he didn't look right or left before parroting such childish remarks suggested by his advisers who are desperate for making an impression. No Indian leader, not even the Hindu Nationalist Party leaders like Advani did make such outlandish remarks about Bangladesh.
Dr. Singh told the Indian editors, as reported in the Indian media, that "... with Bangladesh our relations are quiet good. But we must say that at least 25 per cent of population of Bangladesh swear by the Jamiat-ul-Islami (sic) and they are very anti-India and they are in clutches, many times, of ISI of Pakistan." Apprehending a possible political change "any time," Dr. Singh remarked: "... a political landscape in Bangladesh can change any time. We do not know what these terrorist elements are who have a hold on Jamiat-ul-Islam (sic) elements in Bangladesh can be up to." So comes the timely warning for Bangladesh from a veteran Indian well-wisher. Let the Bangladeshis gird up their loins to meet any such situation that may come "any time"!
When mouth stumbles...
However, when his advisers came to realise how damaging Singh's statement was for bilateral ties with Dhaka, on 1 July they removed (after four days beginning on 29 June) the transcripts of PM's remarks from the PM's and PIB's websites. But it was too late and the damage had been done. As they say, 'Time heals all things except a leaky tap' And a time-honoured adage tells us that 'when the mouth stumbles it is worse than the foot.'
However, the people were surprised at first not to find any reaction to Dr. Singh's remarks, either from the government or the opposition parties. They considered it as a sign of their political weakness towards neighbouring 'big brother'. But obviously it should be construed as a wrong political gesture shown by the government and the opposition towards Dr. Singh's unfriendly remarks on the eve of his forthcoming visit.
The Indian authorities, particularly those directly involved in causing the damage, realised their mistake rather late. It took them a few days to assess the damage it had caused to the existing relations between the two countries. Later, as reported in the Indian media, New Delhi "heaved a sigh of relief" at Dhaka's decision to maintain silence over Dr. Singh's faux pas. The Indians were reported to be in 'confusion' as they apprehended "strong reaction" from the government, the opposition and even thought that citizens in Dhaka might "launch street agitation." But they were 'relieved and happy' with different vibes they received from Bangladesh side. Otherwise Dr. Singh's visit might have been "postponed" if there was a "serious reaction" from Dhaka.
A safer place
At least, in conclusion, it can be safely said that Bangladesh is now a much safer place for India than even New Delhi and more than half of 28 states (provinces) where they are more worried about the increasing activities of the Maoists guerrillas (Communists) planning to remove existing governments to establish their control over the region. Besides, Delhi is also worried over the growing activities of ULFA in the Northeast Indian states to establish their independent states. Sometime back, Bangladesh was accused by India of giving shelter to the notorious ULFA leaders to carry on their mission from 'safe haven' of Bangladesh. But Bangladesh refuted the charges strongly.
It therefore, appears quite futile on Dr. Singh's part to be worried over possible political changes in Bangladesh 'anytime soon.' Instead of thinking too much about the future shape of Bangladesh, the Indian PM should try to put his own house in order, giving a decent burial to the anti-Indian militant elements who are working in Dr. Singh's backyard. Lets hope that Dr. Singh's upcoming visit to Bangladesh bring about fruitful results for both countries as well as for the region.
Let us follow the time-honoured dictum: "Good fences make good neighbours."