Friday, August 19, 2011

Protect National Interest While Dealing With India

Speakers at a seminar on Thursdayurged the government to protect national interest while negotiating with Indiaduring the upcoming visit of Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to Bangladeshfrom September 6 to 9.

People are expecting a win-win situation insigning different bilateral agreements , memorandum of understanding (MOU) andprotocols between Dhaka and Delhi during the visit of the Indian premier, theytold the seminar on "Upcoming Manmohan's visit: Veracity andProspects" held in the National Press Club.

Organized by South Asia Youth forPeace and Prosperity Society it was chaired by chairman of Center for ForeignAffairs Studies Ambassador Ashfaqur Rahman. Prof. Dilara Choudhury presentedthe keynote paper.

Editor of The New Nation MostafaKamal Majumder, editor of the New Age Nurul Kabir, editor of daily sun ProfSyed Anwar Hossain spoke as the guest of honour.
Brig Gen (retd) Shahedul AnamKhan, Prof Faridul Alam of Chittagong University, senior journalist andcolumnist Zaglul Ahmed Chowdhury, among others, also addressed the seminar.

Prof  Dr Dilara Choudhury, in her keynote paper,said transit and corridor are two different things. Transit means going to athird country using the land of second country, while corridor means going fromone destination to another of the same country using the territory of secondcountry, she added.

While using Ashuganj-Agartalaroad, India will get corridor instead of transit, she said, adding for thatBangladesh will not get any fees. On the other hand, giving corridor endangerssovereignty of the country, she said.

Ambassador Ashfaq, in his briefspeech, said Bangladesh can achieve its rightful shares from India or any othercountry "If we could develop enough diplomatic and negotiatingskill." 

Brig. Shahedul Anam said in thename of Ashuganj-Agartala transit, Bangladesh is actually giving corridor toIndia. Since independence, he said, Bangladesh has given enough to India, nowit is India's turn to give a good delivery to Bangladesh.
Emphasizing the need forupholding national interest in foreign policy Brig Shahed said Bangladesh isnot a good bargainer, this limitation should be removed.
Terming the seminar a very timelyand useful one Mostafa Kamal Majumder said Bangladesh now wants to seemagnanimity from Indian side in solving different bilateral issues, includingsharing of waters of international rivers. 

He said except Indus, India controls all therivers flowing through Bangladesh. Obstruction made by barrages and dams onfree flow of rivers in the upper riparian is destroying Bangladesh's reverielife, he added.

Referring to decommissioning ofstructures on rivers in Europe and America, he said Bangladesh may face erosionin coastal belts if unilateral withdrawal of water in the upper riparian is notstopped.

About Indian propaganda onBangladeshis crossing border, Nurul Kabir said Bangladesh's rural economy is better than India.

Giving transit to India withoutnational consensus will not bring any good for either side, he said, addingpolitical parties in Bangladesh should be united to protect nationalinterest.
Prof Syed Anwar Hossain saidBangladesh needs to formulate an 'India Policy' on permanent basis to negotiatebilateral issues with the neighboring country. 

Zaglul A Choudhury said the visitof Indian premier should be viewed objectively. People are in much expectationthat the visit will bring positive outcome for Bangladesh. 

Prof. Faridul Alam, evaluatingIndia's behaviour with Bangladesh during last forty years, said in case ofnational interest India never gives any concession.