Pranab gets briefed on Bangla developments | india | Hindustan Times
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Pranab gets briefed on Bangla developments

According to a senior official, instability in Bangladesh can create problems for New Delhi, reports Nilova Roy Chaudhury.

india Updated: Oct 27, 2006 01:04 IST

External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee settled into office on Thursday, immediately getting down to serious work, receiving an official Namibian delegation, headed by Foreign Minister Marco Hausiku.

He also got detailed briefings from senior officials on the latest situation in neighbouring countries.

The rapidly changing internal political developments in Bangladesh, the possibility of an ‘internal emergency being declared’ and the likely impact of such a development on India was the subject of the day’s longest briefing, officials said.

According to a senior official, instability resulting from the political unrest in Bangladesh could create problems for New Delhi.

A large number of the ruling BNP members have broken away to form the new Liberal Democratic Party, while the opposition Awami League, under Sheikh Hasina, is refusing to accept a caretaker government under former Chief Justice KM Hasan, threatening violent demonstrations.

Prime Minister Khaleda Zia is due to demit office at midnight on Friday/Saturday, to prepare for a three-month interim government to take over, to enable the impartial conduct of national elections to the Jatiyo Sangsad (Parliament).

It was unlikely that an internal emergency would be declared, a Bangladesh diplomat said, but the inability of political parties to agree on the leadership of an interim government, and the resultant instability would add to pressures of conducting a free and fair poll.

Mukherjee, immediately after taking charge on Wednesday, had said India had taken up the issue of terrorist activities against India, emanating from Bangladesh.

“When Prime Minister Begum Khaleda Zia visited our country last time (in March), we discussed this issue,” (of security and terrorism) Mukherjee said.

“We suggested to Bangladesh Government that it is in the interest of both the countries that the fundamentalist forces who are indulging in terrorist activities and violence should be curtailed,” he said.

Internal dissension in the run-up to national elections has placed the Tatas' two billion dollar bid to invest in the Bangladesh steel, power and fertiliser sectors in cold storage.

Meanwhile, Mukherjee received congratulatory messages from US Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice, signalling that the Indo-US nuclear deal was on track, and from his Chinese counterpart, Li Zhaoxing.

In the congratulatory message, Li spoke of the significance of Sino-Indian relations and expressed his desire to work together to further enhance the strategic ties, in this India-China Friendship Year.

Chinese President Hu Jintao is scheduled to visit India from November 20, on what is being seen as a ‘landmark’ visit, Chinese diplomats said.