Bangladesh Government Site It is not only shocking but also shameful that the government has made no mention of the areas of the war-torn Libya which have large concentrations of Bangladesh nationals while informing the US authorities about the addresses of Bangladesh’s ‘ diplomatic and other locations’ inside Libya to keep them out of US-led air strikes. It also tends to betray the apathy of the Awami League-Jatiya Party government to the safety and security of the expatriate Bangladeshis in general. According to a report front-paged in New Age on Friday, quoting a government official, the foreign ministry has given the US embassy in Dhaka on Thursday, in response to the latter’s request to inform it about Bangladesh’s diplomatic and other locations inside Libya so that they can be spared of the military campaigns launched by it and other western forces, only three addresses that include the Bangladesh embassy in Tripoli and the residences of the Bangladesh ambassador and another official there. Even the US authorities, who are very much used to killing people, for their sheer self- interests, across the globe have reportedly got surprised to see such an indifference of the Bangladesh government towards the safety of its nationals. It may be pertinent to note that as many as 60 ,000 Bangladesh nationals got stranded Libya when the civil war broke out in February following the conflict between the supporters and opponents of the Gaddafi regime in the country. With the rising demand of the people in general and the families of the stranded expatriate workers some 31 ,441 of them have been repatriated thus far by the government with the assistance of the employers concerned and different international agencies. Besides, around 1600 more are languishing on the borders of Tunisia, Algeria and Egypt with Libya. Overall, 27 ,000 Bangladesh nationals are now exposed to the western military campaigns against Libya. It is needless to point out that from the very beginning of the trouble allegations have been there that the incumbent government is indifferent about the safety and security of the Bangladesh nationals stranded there. The revelation in question only substantiates such allegations. In line with the constitution and, also their pre- election pledge, the incumbents are bound to do everything with regards to ensuring safety and security of all the Bangladesh nationals, at home and abroad. Hence, the government needs to immediately take steps necessary for the safety and security of the Bangladesh nationals in Libya, not to mention requesting the relevant US authorities to spare the locations that have the concentration of Bangladesh nationals so that they are spared from the Western military campaign against the Gaddafi regime.
Wednesday, March 30, 2011
WIKILEAKS : Anti - Indian Sentiment And Indo - US Cooperation On Percieved Islamist Threat In Bangladesh
30697 , 4 /13 / 2005 13 :52 , 05 NEWDELHI2792 , Embassy New Delhi, CONFIDENTIAL,, " This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available. ","C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 NEW DELHI 002792 SIPDIS E.O. 12958 : DECL: 04 /12 /2015 TAGS : PREL, PTER, KISL, IN, BG, India-Bangladesh, Indo-US SUBJECT: DAS GASTRIGHT ENCOURAGES COORDINATION ON BANGLADESH Classified By: PolCouns Geoff Pyatt. Reasons 1.4 ( B, D) 1. ( C) Summary: In an April 18 meeting with MEA Joint Secretary Neelam Deo (Bangladesh), SA DAS John Gastright SIPDIS emphasized that all concerned countries, not just India and the US, should encourage the BDG to improve its governance. Deo agreed that Bangladesh was still at a point where it could reverse some of the negative trends, but expressed deep skepticism about the current situation, and noted GOI concern about the growing influence of radical Islamists. End Summary. Expanding Dialogue ------------------ 2. ( C) Highlighting Bangladesh as the next area for US-India cooperation, DAS Gastright urged that during the April 18 Regional Dialogue with A/S Rocca, we work towards a playbook of carrots and sticks that we can offer the BDG to encourage it to improve governance. DAS Gastright explained that due in part to New Delhi's prodding, Washington has taken a careful look at the situation in Bangladesh and has developed a strategy of working cooperatively with the BDG and letting them know we are paying attention. Dhaka has noticed Washington's stepped-up attention to issues of governance, and has recently taken a number of steps that the donor community has recommended. Deo responded that certainly the BDG was capable of reversing the slide, but the ""real tragedy"" was that despite having the ability, Dhaka has accomplished very little. SAARC Summit: A Possible Indian Carrot -------------------------------------- 3. ( C) DAS Gastright offered the SAARC Summit as an example of something positive India might offer Dhaka as an inducement to better governance. Deo was sympathetic that the BDG had put a great deal of effort, twice, into organizing the meeting, but added that it was not just the ""blasts"" that soured New Delhi on the Summit. Noting ""a real buildup in unfriendly attitude,"" Deo recounted that just prior to the original January SAARC date, a serving general, in a speech cleared by the PM's office, declared the need to ""build alliances to counter the enemy -- India."" 4. ( C) Observing that the US and India already convey the same message on many issues, Deo pointed out that we have both underlined to the BDG the importance of economic ties with India. While there was still dissent in Dhaka on whether or not to work with India on the Burma- Bangladesh-India gas pipeline (an example of how politicized any cooperation with India is, she noted), the Tata Corporation was working towards a June deadline for completing a feasibility study for its proposed USD two billion dollar investment in steel and fertilizer plants. Deo added that the Tata project had generated interest among other Indian companies in doing business in Bangladesh and was helping to improve the atmosphere. However, she noted with concern that the Tata project is being overseen by the BDG Industry Minister Nizami , who represents Jamaat-e-Islami. GOI Sees Lurking Extremism -------------------------- 5. ( C) Zeroing in on madrassas as the source of Islamic extremism, Deo remarked that some of these schools are training jehadis, even though the state itself is not abetting jihadism. While agreeing that Islam in Bangladesh was generally moderate and resistant to militancy, the Joint Secretary argued that there were some organizations, SIPDIS particularly in the Chittagong Hill Tracts, that with foreign funding were "" building something that could get out of control."" Citing this and the Chittagong arms haul, she added that she did not think the BDG was intentionally abetting these groups, but corruption was a huge problem. 6. ( C) Deo also reiterated the GOI assertion that the Pakistani foreign intelligence agency, ISI, has been active in Bangladesh. Among the GOI's concerns that the MEA has previously expressed, Deo placed particular emphasis on the extent to which the Islamic parties were dampening social and cultural life in Bangladesh, especially for female athletes. She cited recent analysis by the ""Friday Times'"" Khaled Ahmed as evidence that Bangladesh was following an Islamist trajectory similar to Pakistan in the 1980 s. In response to Deo's inquiry about US involvement in the Kibria investigation, DAS Gastright clarified that ours was an advisory role. Elections? Why Bother? ---------------------- 7. ( C) Noting the possibility that opposition leader Sheikh Hasina would not run for office, Deo was not hopeful that there would be anything resembling free and fair elections in Bangladesh. The Joint Secretary commented that the BNP was willing to tamper with the electoral system to ensure a victory. DAS Gastright told Deo that along with the EU's USD 25 million for election monitors, the US was committing USD 10 million for elections, to convey to the BDG that the international community is watching closely, and that the US is emphasizing a closely scrutinized process, instead of personalities. Deo welcomed this observation, reiterating that India wants to coordinate closely with the US on Bangladesh. MULFORD --------------------------------------------- -------------------------------- 26366 , 02 /03 / 2005 04 :16 , 05 DHAKA503 , Embassy Dhaka, CONFIDENTIAL,, "This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available. ","C O N F I D E N T I A L DHAKA 000503 SIPDIS E.O. 12958 : DECL: 2 /3 /2015 TAGS : PREL, BG, IN, PK, NP, SAARC SUBJECT: BDG ANGRY REACTION TO SAARC POSTPONEMENT Classified By: P/E D. Mccullough, Reason(s): 1.5 ( b), (d) 1. ( C) BDG cabinet members, opposition and civil society expressed anger with India over the SAARC cancellation announced February 2. Cabinet members told ambassador that Delhi made the announcement without giving Dhaka prior notification and after telling them earlier in the day that the conference was still on. India's decision to not only cancel but to lump Kathmandu's end of democracy with the deteriorating law and order situation in Bangladesh did not sit well with the BDG cabinet members. The ministers said that the previous two SAARC summits were held in Nepal and Pakistan despite the threat of Maoist violence and bomb blasts. 2. ( C) Comment: The Awami League must be pleased, but we expect more generally a muted reaction given the general embarrassment and anger in Dhaka. GOI's decision will confirm to the PM and many in the Bangladesh military that India is Bangladesh's long-term adversary. End Comment. THOMAS --------------------------------------------- ----------------------------------- 26786 , 02 /10 / 2005 12 :56 , 05 NEWDELHI1075 , Embassy New Delhi, CONFIDENTIAL, 05 NEWDELHI878 , "This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available. ","C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 NEW DELHI 001075 SIPDIS E.O. 12958 : DECL: 02 /09 /2015 TAGS : PREL, PTER, ECIN, ENRG, BG, IN, India-Bangladesh SUBJECT: INDIA: SAARC DECISION SENT A MESSAGE TO DHAKA REF : A. NEW DELHI 878 B. NEW DELHI 877 C. NEW DELHI 876 D. NEW DELHI 874 Classified By: DCM Robert O. Blake, Jr. for Reasons 1.4 ( B, D) 1. ( C) Summary: The GOI remains unapologetic about the last minute cancellation of the SAARC Summit and the resulting unhappiness in Dhaka. In this context, on February 9 , the MEA urged PolCouns not to underestimate the extent to which developments in Bangladesh influenced India's decision not to attend the SAARC Summit. With no apparent sense of urgency to make things right with Dhaka, the MEA explained that the GOI's decision was intended to send a message to the BDG. Despite India's strong stand, our interlocutor reiterated the Foreign Secretary's unconvincing line on the importance of SAARC to New Delhi, and added that other interactions would continue. In support of this assertion, press reports indicate that the Indian Cabinet has given the Petroleum Minister approval to enter into gas pipeline negotiations with Bangladesh. Dhaka's High Commissioner complained to the DCM about Indian mistreatment. We should look for opportunities to continue this dialogue and press for real information sharing. End Summary. A Message for Dhaka ------------------- 2. ( C) MEA Director (Bangladesh, Sri Lanka) Taranjit Singh Sandhu told PolCouns and Poloff that in light of increasing intolerance in Bangladesh and ""sustained anti- India sentiment"" there, India needed to bring pressure to bear on Dhaka. Describing a "clarity of thought"" on Bangladesh throughout the GOI, he urged PolCouns not to ""lessen the importance"" of events there in New Delhi's decision not to attend the SAARC Summit. Sandhu underlined that the King's takeover in Nepal was not the sole motivator for India's change of heart, asserting that developments in both countries took place independent of each other. The Director added to his list of Bangladeshi offenses that ""sitting ministers"" and senior politicians have made statements against India recently, with the intention of raising passions, and concluded that this is not the ""SAARC spirit."" 3. ( C) While maintaining that it was about time New Delhi sent a message to Dhaka, Sandhu countered that the signal was not necessarily a negative one, rather it was meant to encourage Bangladesh to be ""introspective."" India is not trying to fault the BDG, but wants them to realize the danger to themselves from leaving certain issues unchecked, he argued. ""The US Doesn't Get It"" ----------------------- 4. ( C) Somewhat incredulous that the USG continues to ask for concrete evidence to support India' s claims regarding creeping "" Talibanization,"" Sandhu said that even a layman could see what has been going on, and cited recent US press coverage of Islamic extremism in Bangladesh, such as the January ""New York Times Magazine"" expose. PolCouns pointed out that the information presented in the reftels had all been reported in the press, which the Director argued only further proved his point. PolCouns noted that an FBI agent for the legatt office in New Delhi was on his way to Dhaka to help on the January 27 attack, and added that we had made very clear US concern about half-hearted investigations of these politically motivated attacks. Sandhu remained skeptical of US investigators' ability to get results in Bangladesh. PolCouns offered, in the interest of maintaining US- India dialogue on this issue, to come back with our further insights on the situation in Bangladesh. Still Neighbors --------------- 5. ( C) While he did not convey any sense of GOI urgency about stopping the backward slide in bilateral relations, Sandhu attempted to express optimism that initiatives already in the works, such as gas pipeline discussions, would continue, and that New Delhi remained committed to regional cooperation in SAARC. Sandhu insisted that economic interaction between the two countries would not stop, but added that India needs to see the BDG pay attention to New Delhi's political and security concerns. While refuting the suggestion that India was at a dead-end with Bangladesh, the Director noncommittally predicted the SAARC Summit would happen "" sooner or later."" Contrary to the criticism that New Delhi had acted in the opposition Awami League's favor in sinking the Summit, Sandhu asserted that India's decision ""had nothing to do with parties."" He added that India should not be seen as a bully, emphasizing that someone needed to call attention to what was going on in Bangladesh. High Commissioner Cries Foul ---------------------------- 6. ( C) In a lunch with the DCM, the Bangladeshi High Commissioner Hemayet Uddin vented his frustration and anger at the way India quashed the SAARC Summit. Uddin claimed that the GOI made its announcement on February 2 without first notifying either the Ministry in Dhaka or the High Commission in New Delhi, and was especially stung that in his statement, Foreign Secretary Shyam Saran singled out Bangladesh as a culprit. Despite his vitriol, the High Commissioner highlighted some positive developments in the relationship, including plans to begin train service connecting Calcutta to India's Northeast, and the TataCorporation's planned USD 2 billion investment in Bangladesh which will include the use of local gas supplies and might ""smooth the way"" for fuel sales to India. Comment ------- 7. ( C) The GOI's official line that SAARC is an important aspect of India's foreign policy is contradicted by the meltdown over the Dhaka Summit. This is unfortunate, not because of the organization's great potential to accomplish regional integration, but because India's commitment to SAARC would demonstrate New Delhi's willingness to sit down with its neighbors and generate some much-needed good will. While the MEA harbors undisguised disdain for the Government of Bangladesh, there are other stakeholders in the relationship, in particular Petroleum Minister Mani Shankar Aiyar, who has successfully moved the Indian Cabinet to give its blessing to his dialogue on a gas pipeline through Bangladesh. 8. ( C) We will also engage with senior-level MEA SAARC experts on the Summit issue, and expect to hear a more nuanced line from that side of the Ministry. Sandhu accepted PolCouns' suggestion that the US and India continue this discussion at higher levels, and post recommends that we find an early opportunity to revive our SA- led regional dialogue, with a special focus this time on the situation in Bangladesh.
At a time when the Bangladesh government has softened its reactive mood and said that the ball is in Nobel laureate Muhammad Yunus' court, more global moral support pours in for the pioneer of banking for the poor. Two weeks ago, a number of United States senators and congressman expressed their concern over the humiliation faced by the international icon of microfinance. A week ago, Robert Blake, the visiting U.S. assistant secretary of state for South and Central Asian Affairs, cautioned that if the Yunus issue remains unresolved, it would impact bilateral relations between Bangladesh and the United States. The moral support coincided with the Bangladesh Supreme Court on Tuesday adjourning until April 4 a hearing on the petition filed by Yunus seeking a stay on the High Court judgment upholding his dismissal as the Grameen Bank managing director. The central bank on March 2 removed the Nobel laureate from his position for allegedly flouting rules when he was reappointed in 1999. Yunus filed the petition against the order, which the High Court had rejected earlier. The unceremonious exit of Yunus has invited bricks and bouquets at home and globally. The government is embarrassed by the blitzkrieg reaction from the press, politicians, celebrities and development practitioners. Meantime a number of international microfinance organizations and civil societies in Italy, Peru, Philippines and Pakistan have issued statements expressing solidarity with Yunus. Mario Baccini MP, president of the Italian Committee for Microcredit, Professor Luisa Brunori of Bologna University, Sam Daley-Harris and European Member of Parliament Sylvia Cost said Grameen Bank under Yunus has made significant mileage in social development in Bangladesh through microfinance. The bank and Yunus are leading actors in the fight against poverty, writes private news agency United News of Bangladesh. A statement of the Global Center for Development and Democracy (CGDD) and on behalf of President Alejandro Toledo of Peru said “our organization, which cares about international development, has been following very closely the developments, and is very much concerned about the progress which could be lost if the country’s leaders fail to appreciate what makes the Grameen Bank work.” The statement further said that “If he (Toledo) becomes our next president, we expect to extend microloans to the poorest in our country in order to lift all Peruvians who are living below poverty conditions, out of it.” Another letter to Yunus from CARD MRI Family of Philippines said “our more than 1.5 million members and clients would like to assure you of our unwavering support to you as the managing director of Grameen Bank.” An open letter from Kashf Foundation of Pakistan said Yunus and Grameen Bank are global icons and torch-bearers for the mission to eradicate poverty, as well as to provide sustainable choices to poor households across the world. It said the work of Grameen Bank has been replicated across 100 countries and has benefited over 170 million poor women globally.
India cancelled its participation in the 2005 summit of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) in Dhaka in order to encourage Bangladesh “to be introspective,” an official of the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) told a U.S. diplomat. A U.S. Embassy cable sent on February 10 , 2005 ( 26786: confidential ) from New Delhi, reporting a February 9 , 2005 conversation between Embassy officials and MEA Director Taranjit Sandhu on the decision, reveals much about India's Big Brother attitude towards Bangladesh. Consequent to New Delhi's decision, the summit that was scheduled for February 6-7 , 2005 was postponed. A SAARC summit cannot be held if any member- state declines to attend. India gave two reasons for non- participation — the imposition of a state of Emergency by the King of Nepal, and the law and order situation in Bangladesh, which had faced several terror attacks in 2004. Another attack targeting a public rally of the opposition Awami League occurred on January 27 , 2005 , days before the originally scheduled summit. Was held months later The summit was eventually held in November 2005. But the February cancellation led to bad blood between India and Bangladesh and resentment within SAARC in general. The cable reported: “GoI remains unapologetic about the last minute cancellation and the resulting unhappiness in Dhaka…With no apparent sense of urgency to make things right with Dhaka, the MEA explained that the GoI's decision was intended to send a message to BDG [Bangladesh government].” Mr. Sandhu told the U.S. officials that “in light of increasing intolerance in Bangladesh and ‘ sustained anti-India sentiment' there, India needed to bring pressure to bear on Dhaka.” He urged the Americans not to “ lessen the importance” of the events in Bangladesh in New Delhi' s decision not to attend the summit. “The Director added to his list of Bangladeshi offenses that ‘ sitting ministers' and senior politicians have made statements against India recently, with the intention of raising passions, and concluded that this is not the ‘ SAARC spirit',” according to the cable. He said it was time New Delhi “ sent a message to Dhaka,” although the signal was not necessarily a negative one. Rather, “it was meant to encourage Bangladesh to be ‘introspective',” Mr. Sandhu said. He added that India wanted Bangladesh to “ realize the danger to themselves from leaving certain issues unchecked.” Right through Prime Minister Khaleda Zia's tenure in office, India was concerned that the free hand the Bangladesh government seemed to have given Islamist groups would have an impact on India's own security. There was also suspicion of a Pakistani helping hand to these groups, and New Delhi used every opportunity to rope in the U.S. to put pressure on the Bangladesh government. Mr. Sandhu said “even a layman could see what has been going on. ” The U.S. Embassy cable noted that he was “somewhat incredulous” that the U.S. government continued to ask for evidence to support India's claims of “creeping Talibanisation” when even media outlets such as The New York Times had written about it. When the U.S. diplomats pointed out that a Federal Bureau of Investigation agent from the New Delhi office was on his way to Dhaka to help with the investigation of the January 27 attack, Mr. Sandhu was sceptical of U.S. investigators' ability to get results in Bangladesh. He disagreed with the U.S. officials' assessment that relations with Bangladesh were at a dead end. The economic interaction between the two countries would not stop, he said, pointing to continuing discussions on a gas pipeline. But “ India needs to see the BDG pay attention to New Delhi's political and security concerns.” Mr. Sandhu rejected the criticism that India had acted in favour of the Awami League (which was then in the Opposition), and said the decision not to attend the summit “had nothing to do” with political parties. “He added that India should not be seen as a bully, emphasizing that someone needed to call attention to what was going on in Bangladesh,” the cable noted. The cable reported Bangladeshi anger over the Indian decision. During a lunch with the U.S. Embassy's Deputy Chief of Mission, the Bangladesh High Commissioner to India, Hemayet Uddin, “vented his frustration and anger at the way India quashed the SAARC summit.” The High Commissioner said the Indian government had made its announcement on February 2 without first notifying the Bangladesh government; he was “ especially stung that in his statement, Foreign Secretary Shyam Saran singled out Bangladesh as a culprit.” The cable noted that “despite his vitriol,” the High Commissioner pointed to positive developments in relations with India, including the Tata Group's plan for $2 billion investment in a steel venture in Bangladesh that would include the use of local gas supplies and “ smooth the way” for fuel sales to India. The project was given up in 2006 because of Bangladesh's failure to take a decision on it. Another cable, sent on February 3 , 2005 , from the U.S. Embassy in Dhaka around the same time ( 26366: confidential ), reported Bangladeshi anger at the Indian action that led to the cancellation of the summit. Cabinet Ministers pointed out during conversations with the Ambassador that previous summits in Nepal and Pakistan went ahead despite violence that prevailed there. The Indian effort to get the U.S. involved paid off to some extent. According to an Embassy cable of April 13 , 2005 , a visiting State Department official, Deputy Assistant Secretary John Gastright, told MEA Joint Secretary Neelam Deo ( 30697: confidential ) that “ due in part to New Delhi's prodding, Washington has taken a careful look at the situation in Bangladesh and has developed a strategy of working cooperatively with the BDG and letting them know we are paying attention.” Mr. Gastright said Dhaka had noticed “Washington's stepped up attention to issues of governance” and had lately taken some steps recommended by donor countries. He suggested that during a forthcoming visit by Assistant Secretary Christina Rocca, “we offer a playbook of carrots and sticks that we can offer the BDG to encourage it to improve its governance.” He suggested that New Delhi should think about offering the summit as an “inducement.” Ms. Deo noted that it was not just the blasts that had led to the cancellation, but the “real build-up in unfriendly attitude.” She expressed concern that the Bangladesh Industries Minister, who represented the Jamaat-i- Islami, was overseeing the Tata project. She reiterated New Delhi's assertion that Pakistan's Inter- Services Intelligence was active in Bangladesh.