Sunday, October 22, 2017

BNP urges government to disclose details on possible deals with India

  • Senior Correspondent,
    Published: 2017-04-04 23:14:52 BdST


The BNP has urged the government to divulge the details of the deals Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is likely to sign with India during her upcoming visit.

“People have every right to know about the deals and give their opinion on them,” said the party’s Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir.

He made the call at a press brief held at its Naya Paltan headquarters on Tuesday.

Ruling Awami League chief Sheikh Hasina has recently assured that she would not sign any deal that may hinder the country’s interest.

Foreign Affairs Minister AH Mahmood Ali said the deals and MoUs would be made public once they are signed.

In a separate press briefing, which was held almost simultaneously with that of Fakrul's, the foreign minister said the 35 possible agreements and MoUs were still being discussed.

Following an invitation from her Indian counterpart Narendra Modi, Hasina will fly to New Delhi on Apr 7. The bilateral agreements and MoUs are likely to be signed on the second day of her four-day tour.

The BNP secretary general said, “People will not accept any deal jeopardising their interest and the country’s sovereignty.”

When asked if BNP chief Khaleda Zia will write to the Indian prime minister, the way she has done previously regarding the Tipaimukh dam, Fakhrul said: “We don't know anything about the deal! What would she write?”

"People of this country are still in the dark over the 22 deals and MoUs signed during Modi’s 2015 Dhaka visit," said Fakhrul.

He said the recent visits of Indian Army chief and External Affairs secretary to Dhaka have further fueled speculation over 'unacceptable deals' with the South Asian giant.

“It is a general norm that the prominent political parties are consulted before signing any deal. The trend is present in India as well. But Bangladesh government has not informed the people anything,” he complained.

‘India wants to sell arms to Bangladesh’

The BNP leader alleged that "India wants to sell arms to Bangladesh by signing a defence pact."

“The media in both Bangladesh and India have reported that there will be a 500 million dollar deal with India. Then Bangladesh will have to buy arms with that money from India,” Fakhrul said.

He opined that buying Indian arms will not benefit Bangladesh defence force.

Fakrul said, quoting the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, that India has been the top country for importing weapons since 1950.

"Is there any chance that they will buy arms from us? Our defence forces are equipped with affordable modern Chinese weapons. Is it logical on our part to buy Indian-made arms at a higher rate?”

India wants to use Bangladesh as its “captive market” to sell their locally produced arms, he said.

"Bangladesh is landlocked by India on three sides and both the countries are in good terms at present. Then why is a defence deal necessary?“ asked Fakhrul.

“A formal defence pact is needed only when there is a lack of mutual trust.”

He urged the government to discuss issues like border killings and the deal on sharing Teesta river water.

Bangladesh has given India full support to keep ‘seven sisters’ calm on its north-eastern zone.

“According to one Indian diplomat, it is time for India to be generous and repay Bangladesh its dues,” the BNP leader continues.

If India steps forward to fix the unresolved issues with Bangladesh, it will regain the faith of the people of this country, said the leader.

Relation with India

The BNP wants to sustain a healthy relationship with India keeping the interest of Bangladesh intact, said the BNP spokesperson.

The party is often criticised for being 'anti-India'.

“We will never allow any anti-India activities in our country and expect India to respect our sovereignty.”

'Indiscriminate arrest of BNP activists'

The BNP secretary general came down hard on the government for what he called "indiscriminate arrest of BNP leaders and activists."

“We strongly condemn the arrests including the recent ones. Four Juba Dal activists, Md Hassan. Md Liton, Ibrahim Khalil and Ripon from in front of our central office,” he alleged.

Moudud Ahmad, Torikul Islam, Goyeshwar Chandra Roy, Amir Khosru Mahmud Chowdhury were present at the press brief among others.