India's main opposition party Congress yesterday said India should not be seen as “indifferent or partisan” and must play a constructive role for the resolution of the Rohingya refugee crisis and accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi government of “squandering” the goodwill generated in ties with Bangladesh by the previous UPA government's initiatives.
The party's resolution on foreign policy, placed at the plenary session on the second and final day here, said “the relationship with Bangladesh is historic and special. It received a new momentum after Sheikh Hasina assumed leadership of the country.
“The UPA government's initiatives and the understanding reached on the settlement of boundary disputes, have contributed to an improved understanding between India and Bangladesh, generating goodwill and popular support. The BJP Government has, unfortunately, squandered that goodwill, which will be detrimental to our interest,” the resolution, which devotes two separate paragraphs to Bangladesh, said.
It said that “Considering that both Bangladesh and Myanmar are important neighbours and friends, India must play a constructive role for the resolution of Rohingya refugee crisis and should not be seen as indifferent or partisan.”
The resolution made no mention of the unresolved Teesta water-sharing issue, an agreement on which is being blocked by West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee.
The resolution said “Congress notes with concern that India is confronting a major challenge in the sub-continental neighbourhood. Never before in Independent India's history has the country been so diminished in its immediate periphery. This will have significant implications for any meaningful role that India aspires to play in the Asian region and the world."
It also said "Recent developments in Maldives, Nepal, Myanmar and Sri Lanka “are a matter of serious concern. These will need careful and timely handling. It needs to be ensured that relations with India do not become a factor in the domestic politics of the countries in our neighbourhood.”
“India's neighbours in the Sub-Continent must command the highest priority in our foreign policy ," it said.