Former Foreign Secretary of India and G20 Chief Coordinator Harsh Vardhan Shringla has said the bilateral relation between India and Bangladesh reached a height in the past one decade that nobody can reverse it opposite.
He was answering a question in an interview with a Bengali TV channel on the USA pressure on Bangladesh election and the recent visa restriction announced by the United States linked with holding free and fair elections.
As a former Foreign Secretary of India and Indian High Commissioner to Bangladesh still he is one of the main interculator in Bangladesh matter in South Block.
Interestingly the comment of Shringla is important on the context of visit of US Under Secretary for democracy and human rights Uzra Zeya will travel to Indian and Bangladesh from July 8-14 as announced by the US State department.
Sources pointed out Ms. Zeya while in India will meet Foreign Secretary Vinay Kwatra and flagged the issue of the upcoming General election of Bangladesh. Indian High Commissioner to Bangladesh Pranay Verma is also now in India to give input on the discussions.
When it was asked to Shringla about the role of US about Bangladesh election he clearly mentioned the templates of bilateral relation is anchored in the joint statement 'Naya projonmo-naya disha' after the bilateral meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.
He also said, 'the relationship has now reached as described by Prime Minister Narendra Modi as 'Sonali Adhyay'. This engagement has developed in the last nine years of Modi regime that was never in last 40 years. That is why it is irreversible."
He also said Bangladesh has become fifth largest trading partner. The volume of trade reached to US $18 billion and it will see a upward movement in coming days.
The reason is that India has invested in Bangladesh to develop border infrastructure, especially in rail and port connectivity. And it has yielded mutual benefits for both countries. Export from Bangladesh has increased and India's export is also increasing.
On the people-to-people contact Shringla said: "We have built a mechanism that yearly India is issuing 15 lakhs visa for the Bangladeshis. Earlier it was only five lakhs. Now it has reached to a figure of 20 lakhs.”
“We are giving to whom? Visas are being issued to tourists and medical patients who spend their money in India. It has contributed hugely to the economy of West Bengal. Because most of the people come to Kolkata,” he added.
He also explained that no Indian domestic policy will have any impact on Bangladesh.
In this matter, he said during the controversy of CAA and NRC rumour was floated that many Muslim would go to Bangladesh. "We have successfully convinced Bangladesh leadership from top to bottom that nothing will be done to have negative impact on our neighbor.”
On the relation with China, Shringla said, "India wants to maintain normal relation with China. But in 2020 China has violated all the agreed agreement on border and created a negative impact on the relation.
He also made it clear that India wants to maintain a close relation with USA and it is the super power and technologically and in defence matter is in the top of the world. Though India's major defence supply is with Russia yet India needs critical technology from USA.
US State Department has issued press statement saying that Under Secretary in both India and Bangladesh will engage with civil society organisations on freedom of expression and association and inclusion of women and girls persons with disability including marginalised religious and ethnic group.
BDST: 1257 HRS, JULY 9, 2023