India helped maintain political stability in Bangladesh, says minister. He explains

Updated on Nov 01, 2022 09:22 PM IST

Hasan Mahmud, one of the senior-most ministers in Hasina’s government and a top leader of the Awami League, said Dhaka had taken strong action against people involved in attacks on Hindus and there were 700 more Durga Pujas in Bangladesh this year as compared to 2021

Bangladesh information minister Hasan Mahmud, who was accompanied by deputy high commissioner Nural Islam (right), interacted with the media at the Press Club of India in New Delhi. (Twitter/PCITweets)
Bangladesh information minister Hasan Mahmud, who was accompanied by deputy high commissioner Nural Islam (right), interacted with the media at the Press Club of India in New Delhi. (Twitter/PCITweets)

NEW DELHI: India has a crucial role in ensuring regional stability that is essential for the prosperity and political stability of Bangladesh, and relations between the two sides are not tied solely to the issue of sharing the waters of the Teesta river, Bangladesh information minister Hasan Mahmud said on Tuesday.

Mahmud’s remarks, made during an interaction with journalists at the Press Club of India, assume significance as they came ahead of Bangladesh’s general election, which is expected to be held by December 2023. Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s Awami League party is eyeing an unprecedented fourth term in government.

Mahmud, one of the senior-most ministers in Hasina’s government and a top leader of the Awami League, recalled India’s role in his country’s liberation war in 1971 and said Bangladesh’s progress “would never be possible without the political and all-out support of India”.

He added, “Political stability in a country is one of the most essential pre-conditions for prosperity. I strongly believe that to maintain the political stability in Bangladesh, regional stability is also important. I would register my thanks [to India]. To keep the regional stability, and thereby political stability in Bangladesh, India has played a role.”

Responding to a question on the long-pending issue of an agreement on sharing the waters of the cross-border Teesta river, Mahmud said the bilateral relationship does not resolve only around this issue.

“The relationship between India and Bangladesh is very diverse, it doesn’t depend only on the Teesta water-sharing. We are sharing many things,” he said. Bangladesh and India are engaged on resolving this issue and there has been progress, though there are “some obligations and procedures under India’s Constitution”, he pointed out.

“I hope that after following all the procedures, [the issue] will be resolved in future,” he added.

An agreement on the sharing of Teesta waters was set to be signed in 2011 but had to be put off due to opposition from West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee. Under India’s Constitution, the concurrence of state governments is needed for agreements on sharing the waters of cross-border rivers.

Asked whether attacks on Bangladesh’s Hindu minority, especially the violence witnessed during last year’s Durga Puja, could affect bilateral relations, Mahmud said his government adopted a “tough role” against those who seek to target minorities or foment sectarian tensions.

“This year, Durga Puja was celebrated in a festive manner, and the number of puja pandals increased by 700 over last year, The government has ensured the safety and security of those who follow the Hindu religion, I don’t want to [use the term] minority,” he said.

“No one is a minority, our prime minister says don’t feel you are a minority, you are the son of the soil, this is your country,” he said, adding that everybody has equal rights under Bangladesh’s Constitution.

“Of course, there are fanatic groups both in India and Bangladesh, they try to ignite fanaticism, they try to destabilise harmony across religious groups. That happens everywhere,” he said. He blamed “fake news and propaganda on social media” for the atrocities that were witnessed during last year’s Durga Puja.

Mahmud described India’s Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) as “your internal issue”. He added, “As an appeal has been submitted in [India’s] Supreme Court, that has also become a legal issue.”

Get Latest India Newsalong with Latest Newsand Top Headlinesfrom India and around the world.
SHARE THIS ARTICLE ON
SHARE
Story Saved
OPEN APP
×
Saved Articles
Following
My Reads
My Offers
Sign out
New Delhi 0C
Wednesday, February 08, 2023
Start 15 Days Free Trial Subscribe Now
Register Free and get Exciting Deals