Friday, September 9, 2011
Bangladesh should take full advantage of its geographical locationFormer Ambassador M Serajul Islam talks to Nazrul Islam, City Editor of daily sun, on the occasion of Dr Manmohan Singh’s visit to Bangladesh.
Bangladesh needs inclusion of China and Myanmar in its framework of regional connectivity to reap the highest benefit from the proposed transit facilities, now being allowed to India, Nepal and Bhutan, said former ambassador and career diplomat M Serajul Islam on the event of Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s visit to Dhaka.
“The country should take full advantage of its geographical location and bring all its neighbouring countries under the proposed connectivity net,” said Islam. The Indian PM arrived in Bangladesh capital on Tuesday for talks with his Bangladeshi counterpart Sheikh Hasina and high officials. The two countries are expected to strike a number of deals, including exchange of letters for transit facilities, after the meeting.
Describing the present geo-political scene, Serajul Islam said Bangladesh should keep it in mind that India was playing the American cards to stop China in the South East and the Pacific.
But in the case of connectivity, Bangladesh cannot be benefiting without connecting with its other neighbours. Asked what Bangladesh should expect from the Indian premier’s visit, the retired diplomat said that the two countries could resolve their major irritants using the top leaders’ good offices tapping the existing friendly relations between the two neighbours.
He called for political understanding among the ruling Awami League and the opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party for resolving those problems.
Islam said that India and Bangladesh should announce that they will share waters of all the 54 cross-boundary rivers on the basis of equity and fairness. India should promise that they will not allow drying up of rivers in the downstream. If needed, they will form a sub-regional block to resolve the disputes over the Himalayan rivers.
Indian prime minister should seek apology for killing of more than a 1000 innocent Bangladeshis on the border. He must assure us that such incidents will not take place in future and the people living along the border will remain safe, he added.
Indian must open its door for ‘Made in Bangladesh’ products to help reduce the existing trade gap which is heavily tilted towards India. “I will be happy to see Indian prime minister announce that major Bangladeshi products get duty-free access to Indian market of over 1 billion people.”
The dispute over maritime boundary in the Bay of Bengal should have been resolved by this time and India could generously help Bangladesh in this regard.
Posted by Ambassador Serajul Islam