Make public agenda of PM's visit to India
Speakers at a roundtable yesterday said the government must make public the agenda of the prime minister's forthcoming visit to India to deal with issues of national interests effectively.
Bangladesh needs to dwell competently with India on the issues of water sharing of 54 joint rivers, proposed Tipaimukh dam, Tinbigha corridor, maritime and land boundaries, cross-border terrorism, Asian Highway, trade deficit, Teesta water sharing and revision of Ganges Treaty 1996, they added.
The speakers said Bangladesh must forge a political unity, establish equal diplomatic rapport with India and China and develop negotiation skills to strike fruitful deals with India.
They said this at the roundtable on 'Hopes and concerns of prime minister's India visit' organised by Centre for Human Rights at a city hotel with Prof Emajuddin Ahmed in the chair.
Dr Akbar Ali Khan, former adviser to a caretaker government, said transit facility to India and Asian Highway are not matters to conclude hurriedly.
Bangladesh should equip itself for getting corresponding facility from India if it gives the latter transit corridor, he added.
“In Indo-Bangladesh relations, India is neither a friend nor a foe to Bangladesh,” he said, adding: “It is a relationship of mutual national interests.”
Shahedul Anam Khan, defence and strategic issues editor of The Daily Star, said: “We must get as much as we give India, but we have been bad negotiators on water sharing and other issues.”
Noted economist Prof Muzaffer Ahmad said the concerned parliamentary committee could discuss the PM's agenda for the visit.
A number of Indo-Bangla treaties, including Indira-Mujib agreement of 1974, have been unimplemented, said Alamgir Mohiuddin, editor of the Naya Diganta.
Maj Gen (retd) Moinul Hossain Chowdhury, ex-adviser to a caretaker government, said Bangladesh should no longer show any subservient attitude to India.
Journalist Amanullah Kabir said India has a crisis of confidence due to its big brotherly attitude not only with Bangladesh but also any of its neighbouring non-nuclear states.
The speakers said Bangladesh foreign policy is flawed with the constitutional provisions allowing the executive to sign international treaties without parliamentary debate and absence of a bipartisan initiative.
Former foreign affairs adviser Reaz Rahman, ex-state minister for foreign affairs Abul Hasan Chowdhury, Prof Tareque S Rahman of Jahangirnagar University and Editor of the Amar Desh Mahmudur Rahman also spoke at the event moderated by Barrister Abdur Razzaq.