The developments come in the wake of cancellation of Bangladesh foreign minister A.K. Abdul Momen’s visit to New Delhi last month.
New Delhi: Bangladesh’s minister of state for foreign affairs Shahriar Alam has cancelled his proposed visit to New Delhi to attend the Raisina Dialogue conference, triggering speculation that the cancellation may be linked to Bangladesh’s reported concerns on the recent Indian Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA). How-ever, diplomatic sources from Bangladesh told this newspaper that Mr Alam had cancelled his visit because he will be accompanying Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on a visit to the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The developments come in the wake of cancellation of Bangladesh foreign minister A.K. Abdul Momen’s visit to New Delhi last month.
“Mr Alam had been invited by the (private thinktank) ORF to attend the Raisina Dialogue and he had accepted the invite. But when he realised that he had to accompany the PM (Sheikh Hasina) to the UAE, he wrote to the ORF explaining why he could not attend,” diplomatic sources from Bangladesh told this newspaper. The Raisina Dialogue is organised annually by the ORF and the MEA.
India, nevertheless, appears to be struggling to contain the possible fallout of the CAA controversy on ties with Bangladesh and seems to be in a damage-control mode on this. Bangladesh is one of the three countries mentioned in the CAA. The MEA had pointed out last month that in Bangladesh, the governments of Sheikh Mujibur Rehman (Bangabandhu) and (his daughter and current Prime Minister) Sheikh Hasina had protected minorities in Bangladesh and that persecution had taken place under spells of military rule in Bangladesh and under the “previous government” there, a veiled reference to the earlier government led by Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) chief Begum Khaleda Zia, which was seen to be pro-Pakistan and anti-India.
On ties with Bangladesh, the MEA had earlier said there is a close relationship between India and Bangladesh and that the close ties between the two should “not be defined by postponement of a visit”, a reference to the cancellation then of the visit of Bangladesh Foreign Minister A.K. Abdul Momen. The MEA had also said then that a meeting of the Joint Water Commission between the two countries had only been postponed because Bangladesh felt it “did not have the data from the six rivers”. The MEA had claimed that too much “should not be read into isolated incidents”.