Thursday, October 19, 2017

No impact of India-China border tension on Bangladesh: Diplomat

  • Nurul Islam Hasib, Senior Correspondent,
    Published: 2017-08-13 23:11:56 BdST

Reuters File Photo shows Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina (3rd from right on back row), Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi (middle on front row), and Chinese President Xi Jinping (2nd from right on front row) posing for a group picture with other leaders during BRICS and BIMSTEC summits in Cavelossim, in the western state of Goa, India, October 16, 2016.

An Indian diplomat in Dhaka believes that Bangladesh will have little impact from ongoing border tension between India and China.

“At this point, there is no question of having impacts,” said the diplomat who spoke to on Sunday on India- Bangladesh relations.

“China is also a significant partner for India. Our trade with China is over $70 billion and its growing. There are cultural and people-to-people relations," the diplomat who cannot be named said, adding "There is no issue in this tension that can impact Bangladesh.”

Media reports suggest that India's military has increased 'operational readiness' along the eastern Indian border with China recently following a tension in a remote Himalayan region near their disputed frontier.

The crisis began in June when a Chinese construction crew was found to be trying to extend a road in the Doklam region that both China and the mountainous nation of Bhutan claim as theirs.

India, which has special ties with Bhutan, sent its troops to stop the construction, igniting anger in Beijing which said New Delhi had no business to intervene, and demanded a unilateral troop withdrawal.

The Indian diplomat who talked with said that there is “no friction” at the border at this moment.

“Both sides are maintaining protocols. There is no friction between the forces,” the diplomat said, alleging that media was showing old footages of 1980s scuffle in the border.

Bangladesh’s relation with India is regarded at its best now.

Bangladesh also joined the Chinese initiative ‘one-belt, one-road’ last year when President Xi Jinping visited Dhaka, elevating the relations to the strategic level.

Prime Minister’s International Affairs Advisor Gowher Rizvi recently at a seminar said the relation is win-win, not a “zero-sum” game.

But after buying Chinese submarines, there is a perception that 'India is not happy with Bangladesh'. The diplomat, however, ruled out such perception.

“You have taken the decision as a country, as a government and as a navy. So we have nothing to say about that,” the diplomat said.

“Bangladesh was always dependent on China’s military supply. Of course, this submarines brings a new element”.

He said India’s external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj wants to come to Bangladesh 'as early as possible' as she recovered from her kidney failure.

“We have not fixed the date,” he said, as the minister would come for the joint commission meeting along with her Bangladesh counterpart AH Mahmood Ali.

The meeting would take stock of the progress of ongoing cooperation between the countries and give future directions.