Thursday, October 19, 2017

Obaidul Quader quashes concerns over 'secret defence deal' with India as 'baseless'

  • Senior Correspondent,
    Published: 2017-03-17 02:57:59 BdST


Awami League General Secretary Obaidul Quader has brushed aside as 'unfounded India-phobia' the BNP leaders' concern that the government may sign a 'secret defence deal' with India during Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's upcoming visit to Delhi.

"The prime minister is going to India in April. There is a group in our country; they are saying: 'Everything is gone! Our country is becoming India!' This baseless India-phobia works in our country," said Quader.

BNP leader Abdullah Al Noman demanded last week that the government should publicise the issues to be discussed in India during the prime minister's visit. Referring to reports published in the Indian media, another BNP leader, Ruhul Kabir Rizvi, alleged the government would sign a defence deal by going against Bangladesh's interests.

Denying the allegation, Obaidul Quader on Thursday said, "There will be no secret in this era of information flowing like explosion. And I don't think it is right to conceal information from the people - whether it relates to military or not."

He also said any deal can be signed by safeguarding national interests and maintaining sovereignty. "We have many defence deals with many countries, including America and Russia. But crying: 'Everything is gone! The country is becoming India!' over this (the deal) - this India-phobia is not right."

Quader said politicians should act 'responsibly' over such matters. "Please keep in mind that Sheikh Hasina is a leader who never bows down," he added.  

In his speech, he mentioned the implementation of the land boundary deal with India and signing of the deal to share the Ganges water during Hasina's tenures.

Quader, who is also the road transport and bridges minister, was speaking at the 14th national council of Roads and Highways Diploma Engineers' Association at the Sarak Bhaban.