Monday, October 23, 2017

I hid nothing about deals with India unlike Khaleda: Hasina

  • Senior Correspondent,
    Published: 2017-04-13 04:52:13 BdST


Amid criticism by Khaleda Zia for the latest deals signed with India, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has said she hid nothing during the visit unlike Khaleda did when she was prime minister.

The BNP chairperson told a press conference on Wednesday that the prime minister brought "nothing from India, but assurances".

She claimed the people saw the visit as the Bangladesh government’s failure to secure its interests from its stronger neighbour.

She was also sceptical about defence deals with New Delhi, saying the Awami League government was advised against the agreements by many political groups and civil society members.

Later, Hasina responded to Khaleda's criticism at a meeting of the Awami League's Working Committee at the Ganabhaban.

"The BNP leader said we kept the people in the dark while signing the memoranda of understanding (MoUs). I have only one question to ask her: Whom did she consult when she signed the defence deal with China? No-one saw what was in it," the prime minister said.

"At least, I didn't hide anything like she did," she added.

The prime minister said the deals had been placed for clearance by the Cabinet before the signing, Foreign Minister AH Mahmood Ali spoke about those in a press conference before the visit and those were disclosed in the Bangladesh-India joint statement.

"Now if someone can't see even after having eyes, then I have nothing to do," Hasina retorted, in a dig at her arch political rival.

She claimed Bangladesh has gained by signing the agreements and MoUs with India.

"We will be able to bring power from India; diesel will come through pipeline; LNG will alao be brought to overcome the gas crisis," she said, adding that India extended a credit l;ine of $4.5 billion.

About Khaleda's criticism for the failure to have India sign the Teesta water-sharing deal, the prime minister asked, "Khaleda Zia was also in power, then why couldn't she bring Teesta water?"

She alleged Bangladesh was actually paying for not protesting against a barrage India built on the Teesta river in Gazaldoba when Khaleda's husband BNP founder Ziaur Rahman was in power.

She also criticised Khaleda for 'not raising' the Ganges water-sharing issue during her India visit when the latter was prime minister in 1991.