Monday, November 28, 2011

Tipai deal is breach of trust-Hasina's efforts to befriend India has been rebuffed

Kuldip said, "friendshipwith India was a straw to which the people of Bangladesh have clung. Today theywonder if they have any future with India." 

India's veteran journalist anddiplomat Kuldip Nayar has said his country's move to build the Tipaimukh Damhas come as a big embarrassment to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's governmentand felt the need for quick measures to bridge the confidence gap. In anarticle published in a local Englishdaily, Nayar who has just returned home after a week long visit to Dhaka said Sheikh Hasina's popularity issinking in Bangladesh and India as her friend should not do anything to add newproblems to her government.(The New Nation )

He writes when the news broke outof the Indian signing of the contract to build the Tipaimukh dam keeping Bangladesh was in the dark. And it happenedonly one month after Indian Prime Minister Dr Monmahan Singh's visit to Dhaka.

The contract with the ManipurState Government and the developer company was signed on October 23, he said adding it occurred despite the IndianPrime Minister's assurance to his hostin Dhaka that India will not do anything (on Tipaimukh) which will hurtBangladesh's interest.

He writes, the Indian move is a"violation of the understanding given by Delhi that it will not doanything that would affect Dhaka."

He said the news was first brokenby BBC from an unconfirmed source about one month after the signing of the contract. And when it flashed out inBangladesh media the Indian side reacted only to contain the reaction fromBangladesh side.

He writes," the explanationgiven by New Delhi after 72 hours (of breaking the news) is that the dam is meant to check floods andwill not divert waters. This has not assuaged the feeling of Bangladesh."The very signing of the agreement without informing Dhaka was a breach ofconfidence, Kuldip said.

The Dam may or may not destroythe environment is a separate point of complaint, he said adding the questionis the breach of trust and it has harmed beleaguered Hasina in Dhaka who haslost in prestige from the Indian action.

He said her efforts to befriendIndia have been rebuffed and added, "There is no doubt that the Teesta andTipaimukh will cut her votes when Bangladesh goes to polls two years later. Thefallout will benefit Begum Zia who is sitting pretty and issuing statementsafter statements as she did in the past," he writes.

Kuldip said, "friendshipwith India was a straw to which the people of Bangladesh have clung. Today theywonder if they have any future with India." He said Sheikh Hasina hastaken unilateral steps like transit which gives quick access to India to itsnortheastern states.

But the way New Delhi isreciprocating her gestures is even worrying the pro-India elements inBangladesh. He said the loan given to Bangladesh is all tied to imports andtechnical know how from India. The border between the two countries has notbeen demarcated and there is no move to transfer the enclaves.

Teesta waters issue has not beenresolved and when the impacts of all such blows were somewhat losing impacts,Tipaimukh has come as a new blow to the relations between the two countries,Kuldip has argued.

He said some quarters believethat the Teesta water would eventually come just as the flow from the Farakkabarrage did, but the moves suffered recently from the critical approach of WestBengal Chief Minister Mamata Benarjee.

He said there are as many as 52rivers from India flowing into Bangladesh. " I think that on the majorones New Delhi should give a clear understanding to Dhaka that they will not bein any way touched without consulting it," Observers in Dhaka is nowwatching development from both sides as to how they are moving to resolve theissue. Meanwhile angers are taking new shape in Bangladesh as people havestarted taking the streets to protest the unilateral Indian actions giving adamn to international laws and norms on common borders.

Critics say since it is an issueequally bringing risks to local people in India and Bangladesh, bothgovernments will join hand to work out a solution acceptable to people on bothsides.  

BY :  Faruque Ahmed.