Indian prime minister comment’s on Bangladesh raises eyebrows

Saleem Samad

Saleem Samad

In an unwarranted comment, Indian prime minister Manmohan Singh on Thursday said Bangladesh political landscape can change anytime.

Speaking at the capital New Delhi to a select group of Indian newspaper editors he frankly said his neighbours worries him a great deal. “So a very uncertain neighbourhood.”

He blames Pakistan’s dreaded spy agency Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) having nexus with the terrorist elements in Islamist party Jamaat-e-Islami may change the political regime in Bangladesh, India’s eastern neighbour.

The prime minister also said that he reckons that at least 25 percent of the population of Bangladesh motivated by the Jamaat-e-Islami are diehard anti-Indian, and are working for Pakistan spy agency.

The branding of a quarter of Bangladesh’s population as “anti-Indian” by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has raised diplomatic eyebrows here.

However, Bangladesh senior government official who does not wish to be names scoffed off Indian prime minister comments and said it was out of context. The official on Friday, of course said that Bangladesh would seek clarification from New Delhi regarding the sensitive comments.

Professor Nazmul Ahsan Kalimullah of state run Dhaka University said his comments came when Indian and Bangladesh senior officials are frequenting visits into each other capital prior to the visit of prime minister Singh’s visit to Bangladesh, like in the end of this year.

Since Shiekh Hasina returned to power nearly three years ago, has initiated steps to nab wanted Indian insurgent leaders who were sheltered in Bangladesh for decades. Most of anti-Indian leaders were unofficially extradited, despite both countries does not have any treaty to handover each others most wanted persons. Scores of camps of northeast guerrilla groups and were operating from inside Bangladesh territory have been busted.

India’s former High Commissioner in Dhaka Veena Sikri was more forthright. “I don’t think it is proper to describe people of another country in this manner,” she said while contextualising the BNP’s stand. “The BNP says the interests of Bangladesh are not served by India. Sheikh Hasina on the other hand seeks to promote friendship because she feels friendship with India is in Bangladesh’s interest.”

“I do not agree that 25 per cent population of Bangladesh supports the Jamaat-e-Islami. If you look at the votes they had polled in the last elections, it does not reflect so, although they contested elections along with the right-wing Bangladesh Nationalist Party of Begum Khaleda Zia,” said a close observer of politics in Bangladesh.

The influence of the ISI, which has been trying to regain its hold since the early days of an independent Bangladesh, was strong under earlier regimes. But institutions such as the Bangladesh Army or the Directorate General of Forces Intelligence, unlike the Pakistani ones, are very sensitive to public opinion.

Singh mentioned that Bangladesh government has gone out of its way to help India in apprehending anti-Indian insurgents operating from inside Bangladesh for a long time, he said. “And that is why we have been generous in dealing with Bangladesh.”

The former Indian ambassador Dev Mukerjee, who was posted in Bangladesh echoed with the Bangladesh official and said he does not fear that Jamaat-e-Islami is capable of undertaking any action, when he does not have significant people support, which they failed to demonstrate in the electoral regime in past polls.

6 Responses to “Indian prime minister comment’s on Bangladesh raises eyebrows”

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    This was an absolutely irresponsible remark by an Indian premier. Such stupid remarks only strengthen the hands of conspirators vying for unconstitutional grab on power.

    Bangladesh moved a step forward to free flowing democracy by aboishing the undemocratic caretaker system created some twenty years back. But it was BNP who abused the system to rig elections twice in the past and failed miserably to win both the elections. I think twenty years of a system at work in failing nations has been rightfully trashed by the brute majority of the parliament in Bangladesh.

    A strong Election Commission free from interference from the administration is good enough to hold credible elections. Besides, the AL has never been accused of rigging elections as the Jamaat-e-Islami war criminals, Islamic fundamentalists and their natural ally the BNP have been accused of repeatedly.

    Its true that Jamaat has slowly but surely infiltrated all branches of governance including the army with help from BNP and Khaleda Zia and her sons in particular but it does not mean that they can threaten democracy here. Tareq Rahman had very close personal ties with the worst Bangladeshi war criminals alive, Golam Azam and Motiur Rahman Nizami.

    BNP and Jamaat knows that the longer the AL and her allies stay in power the less likely they would be able to stage a August 15, 1975-like putsch with assistance from ISI as in the past. With ISI fighting a losing battle inside Pakistan and in shambles, and the Pakistani army under strong US scrutiny Bangladesh may have finally come out of the wicked Pakistani ISI-backed quasi-political stranglehold on Bangladeshi politics.

  2. Author Image

    Khondkar A saleque

    PM Manmahon Singh Must Say Sorry.
    Engr Khondkar A Saleque
    Dr Manmohan Singh, Prime Minister of the largest democratic country of the world in a rare recent pres meeting with the editors of 10 leading Indian newspaper made some outrageous, undiplomatic, uncalled for and indecorous statement about Bangladesh. In accordance with Indian media quoted in some Bangladeshi media Dr Singh said, “Anything may happen in Bangladesh .India is concerned about Jamate Islami. About 25% of Bangladesh population Jamat followers have strong anti Indian feelings “
    Indian PM is well known as a soft spoken professional who usually like to remain out of limelight. But God knows what made him appear in media and make such uncalled for statement about a SAARC neighbor which has suffered immense miseries due to unfriendly neighborly attitude of India ever since December 16th 1971 or more specifically since Bangabandhu successfully managed withdrawal of Indian Army from the liberated soil of Bangladesh.
    Several leading Indians including two ex Indian High commissioners in Bangladesh expressed deep concern over PM’s statement. Ultimately the statement was withdrawn tagging it off the record.
    We proud Bangladeshis who had opportunity to make some contributions in the birth and upbringing of Bangladesh feel utterly disappointed and disgraced at PM’s statement and wonder why sovereign Bangladesh Government did not have the bones to record strong protest.
    We Bangladeshis neither love nor hate India or any country. But we love Bangladesh and feel proud being Bangladeshi. While we acknowledge Indiia’s help and assistance in our liberation war we also strongly dislike India’s take all and share nothing attitude with all neighbors. A majority section of Bangladeshi population whether or not Jamat supporters has strong disliking about Indian attitude.
    Why India is not giving the rightful share of Water to lower riparian country Bangladesh? India’s unilateral withdrawal of water from some common rivers has caused desertification of parts of Bangladesh? Why India is opposing our initiative for exploration in the Bay of Bengal? Why India is indirectly opposing mining of our own coal? India is pushing its dirty coal to Bangladesh which they even not use in their own country.
    India remains the only ICC full member country which never invited Bangladesh Cricket team for bilateral series. Are these friendly gestures to a small SAARC nation? Bangladesh beat India in ICC world Cup. All Cricketing nations including Australia, England, and South Africa hosted Bangladesh but India never did. Shame on Indian Cricket Board.
    We agree with one statement of the PM that majority people of Bangladesh has strong sentiment against Indian politicians and beauracrats. There is no reason to brand them Jamat Politics believers. Until recently India used to create all kinds of barriers for trade with Nepal and Bhutan through Indian corridor. India created tariff and non tariff barriers for Bangladeshi export commodities entering India. Why India did not honor Mujib –Indira enclave exchange treaty? Now Bangladesh agreed to transit issue and allowed India transport heavy machinery for Power Plant construction at Tripura. The Rukhya and other Tripura Gas fields are so close to Bangladesh territory that there is every possibility that these fields may have common drainage area with our Salda Gas Field. If that is true India may be draining our gas. Let there be joint 3D seismic survey to delineate Salda and Rukhya structure. We must claim share of power that will be generated at Tripura using the gas of these fields.
    We have raised these here to make India realize that if majority Bangladeshi has strong anti Indian sentiment that is because of their flawed Bangladesh strategy. Jamat or others must not be blamed for that.
    In conclusion we strongly condemn statement of Indian PM and request him to say sorry if he remains the gentleman that we know.

  3. Author Image


    The Prime Minister of India, Mr. Manmohan Singh is also a human being, and all humans make mistakes. So, what he should do is apologize for his bad comments,that’s all. And he must remember that he is sitting on the number one seat in a huge country like India.
    He can’t be that irresponsible!!

  4. Author Image


    Who gives a SHIT about Bangladesh….half-of-world doesn’t even know where it is, where as rest of the half knows because of India….Its India that helps/feeds/supports bangladesh, and not the other way around…so dont try to make mountain out of a bolt from an out-of-context comment!

  5. Author Image


    Bangladesh is our neighbour country and we should have respect for each other.We should work for the bigger global perspective rather than mere personal interests

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