The international protocol signed between the heads of India and Bangladesh has not been carried forward and Bangladesh sees it as a “failure” of its ruling Awami League government, says Dr Osman Farooq, adviser to Bangladesh Nationalist Party chairperson Begum Khaleda Zia.
Participating in a workshop titled “Dissociating Religion From Terrorism: The Path Ahead” at Jadavpur University on Monday, speakers from both the ruling Awami League (AL) and the Opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) regretted that the international treaty involving Teesta water-sharing and exchange of enclaves have not been implemented in the last two years.
Dr Farooq iterated Khaleda Zia’s assurance to the Indian authorities that the Bangladeshi soil would not be allowed to be used for terrorism and no part of India should be used for such activities against Bangladesh either.
He also outlined that if free and fair elections are held in Bangladesh, BNP has a fair chance of coming to power, and that its leadership is keen on taking bilateral relations with India forward. “The Indian authorities must realize that its relation with Bangladesh would be based on people-to-people contact and also with various political outfits and not only AL.”
Suranjit Sengupta, a minister in the AL government, admitted that the treaty’s non-implementation has been an embarrassment for the present government but that it was looking forward to the Indian government to keep its internatonal commitment. Sengupta also admitted that if the treaty is not ratified in the Indian parliament, it would be a cause of worry for the party as the country is banking upon the treaty.
Asked if his party would take the initiative of talking to West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, who has been opposed to the treaty and a big hurdle in its implementation, Sengupta said it is India’s internal matter and states might have their compulsion. But the issues are to be sorted out by the Indian government; it is not for Bangladesh to take this initiative.
Another speaker, Md Amir Hossain Amu, MP Bangladesh, said that the Shahbag movement has lost its steam and petered out. Professor Jayanta Kumar Roy of Institute of Foreign Policy