Pakistan High Commissioner to Bangladesh, Imran Ahmed Siddiqui’s very recent meeting with Bangladesh PM Sheikh Hasina was highly covered in almost all Pakistani media outlets. They circulated it with much attention. PTI, APP, Dawn, Daily Times, Pakistan Today, Pakistan Observer, The Nation, News International, Geo Tv, Express Tribune, ARY News, Business Recorder, Dunya News, Trade Chronicle, all news platforms has covered the meeting in their front page. Urdu language based newspapers such as Daily Jang, Daily Pakistan, Dawn, Express, Daily Nawaiwaqt, Daily Khabarain, Daily Ummat published the event with much encourage and attention. Even Pakistan today wrote an editorial on it. Thus, anyone can understand easily how the meeting was strategically significant.
On the other hands, Some Bangladeshi media outlets have also covered the news. The Daily Observer BD, The Daily Star, Dhaka Tribune, BSS, UNB, Rising BD, Business Standard, Bangla Daily Jana kantha, Inqilab etc. covered the news update. India’s Uniindia has also covered this. However, media outlets did their task. It is not issue of concern.
But the main concern is that the recent meeting indicates some messages for the region. It is going to carry some ominous sign for India. Event at this moment and situation, meeting of Pak envoy with Bangladesh PM can change the whole regional geo-political game.
It is true that Bangladesh is a well trusted friend of India in the region. Bangladesh-India relations can be described in the framework of China-Pakistan ties in case of great term’ all weather friendship’.
According to ‘Dawn’ report, BD PM Sheikh Hasina invited PM Imran to visit Bangladesh. Pakistani media outlets report that BD PM Sheikh Hasina also expresses interest to visit Pakistan. If the news is true, I say that the context of geo-politics is going to change.
It is true that recent incidents in Bangladesh surrounding Durga Puja have created some extent of distance between India-Bangladesh. India’s NRC, CAA. CAB had already created some kind of tensions between Bangladesh and India. Long demanded issues from Bangladesh (Bangladesh has bitter experience with India in case of Signing Teesta Water Sharing deal, killing of civilian people across the Bangladesh border, onion crisis) have made more distance and disbelief between two eternal ties.
Recent reaction of BD PM towards India was not conducive for India. India got a clear message from Bangladesh. It is truer that Bangladesh is going to self-sufficient economic power in the region. In this case, India should behave more friendly.
An original copy of the message of the Prime Minister of Pakistan Imran Khan has been handed over to the Prime Minister of Bangladesh Sheikh Hasina. The newly appointed High Commissioner of Pakistan to Bangladesh Imran Ahmed Siddiqui handed over the message during a courtesy call on the Prime Minister’s official residence Ganobhaban on October 25, 2021.
After the meeting, PM’s Press Secretary Ihsanul Karim briefed reporters. At the time, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said South Asian countries should be freed from the curse of hunger and illiteracy and work for the welfare of the people of the region. The Prime Minister further said that the foreign policy of Bangladesh formulated by Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman is ‘friendship with all, not enmity with anyone’.
During the meeting, High Commissioner Imran Ahmed Siddiqui said that Pakistan is interested in developing relations with Bangladesh. He also gifted a photo album, painting and video footage of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman’s visit to Pakistan as the Prime Minister of Bangladesh to attend the 1974 OIC (Organization of Islamic Co-operation) Summit. The Prime Minister thanked the High Commissioner for handing over the historical memorial of Bangabandhu. The Prime Minister commended the publication of a calligraphy book in Bengali, Pakistan on the occasion of the golden jubilee of Bangladesh’s independence. Ambassador at Large Mohammad Ziauddin and Chief Secretary to the Prime Minister. Ahmed Kaikaus was present at the time. Basically, we don’t know the actual facts at the meeting. Many things can be discussed during the meeting.
This can be alarm for India. China and Pakistan are always trying to get opportunity utilizing any kind of strained relations of Bangladesh-India. China and Pakistan would obliviously try to utilize the present regional political scenario.
In this context, I assume and assess that India should keep its warm relations with Bangladesh with its level best. A single incident between India-Bangladesh ties can occur the geopolitical disaster for the region.
India should keep and fulfill it promises made earlier to Bangladesh. India shouldn’t accuse Bangladesh for the recent separate incidents. Indian politicians should keep themselves to abstain from uttering any word or any sentence which may disturb the Bangladesh-India eternal ties. Indian government should stop to take effective steps illogical remarks. (BJP’s Subranianm Swamy’s remarks was totally illogical). It would only create distance between Bangladesh-India which is unexpected. It is well established that Bangladesh government is trying to its level best to take concreate actions against culprits who were involved in recent communal violence in Bangladesh. India and world know that Bangladesh is a secular country.
Its PM is a very liberal person to all religious groups. India should stop to spread baseless propagandas against Bangladesh. Indian media agencies and religious organizations should stop to circulate any events and issues which cause serious damage the bi-lateral relations between Bangladesh and Pakistan. India should take effective steps to stop border killings across Bangladesh-India border. Long awaited issue like Teesta issue must be resolved. Indian interference into the internal affairs by some non-experienced Indian political leaders must be stopped. India should behave as a ‘all weather ally’ as China behaves towards Pakistan. Otherwise, India might be lost the most trustworthy and reliable friend in the world. I write my conclusion that India and Bangladesh had, have and will have (?) eternal strategic ties. Bangladesh needs India and vice versa (India needs Bangladesh). India, please take seriously the recent meeting of Pakistan envoy with Bangladesh PM. A single incident between you and Bangladesh can change the whole regional geo-political scenario.
Pathik Hasan, Dhaka based human rights activist, researcher, international relations analyst and columnist.