Sat, 01 Oct 2022

By Heena JoshiNew Delhi [India], September 8 (ANI): Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is a visionary leader who has worked to bring back the civilizational ties and the subcontinental linkages that have always been there between India and Bangladesh, former envoy to Bangladesh Veena Sikri said.

While speaking to ANI, Veena Sikri, former High Commissioner to Bangladesh said, "India and Bangladesh have a great sense of the civilizational ties that link both the countries. The relationship between India and Bangladesh has developed and the civilizational ties have been restored since Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina came to power."The most essential thing, the envoy pointed out, is that India wants Bangladesh to be prosperous, stable and democratic. "If Bangladesh is doing well India rejoices in it all India wants for Bangladesh is to be prosperous stable and democratic. We are happy that Bangladesh is doing well. We want Bangladesh to progress and also progressing ourselves."Former Ambassador Sikri while noting the strong multisectoral and multifacted cooperation between India and Bangladesh said, "It is an enormously strong factor. It is positive and is a win win situation. We have taken some really important decisions for instance giving full duty-free access to the Indian markets which has led to enormous increase in Bangladesh exports to India."She stressed that it is all for the mutual benefit of both India and Bangladesh whether it is cooperation in education, culture, trade and people to people linkages. "India is continuing its cooperation on the basis of mutual trust and mutual prosperity."Speaking further on the economy of Bangladesh she said, "Bangladesh economy has done wonders and I would really like to give credit to PM Sheikh Hasina. For the last 14 to 15 years one of her exclusive focus has been on the economic development and prosperity of the people and she has been able to bring this. The focus on trade has also been really good for Bangladesh."One of the other factors, she said is the booming energy cooperation between the two countries. "Energy Corporation will become a big factor between India and Bangladesh. Over the last decade we have this excellent cooperation in terms of the electricity cooperation, the connection between the two countries via electricity grid."The envoy termed the 1971 Liberation war as the most defining moment in Bangladesh's history. "The then West Pakistan government was imposing all kind of restrictions -- they imposed Urdu at one point, they even banned the study of Rabindranath Tagore and the banned music, they banned books. This feeling of the alienation of the civilizational heritage was one very important factor that led to the demand of Bangladesh at the time of the great Liberation war. India was at shoulder-to-shoulder with Bangladesh."In the first Constitution that Bangladesh wrote for itself, democracy, secularism, social justice and nationalism were big factors in it, she noted.

"After the very cruel and tragic assassination of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman or Bangabandhu in 1975 these values took back seat for a long time. Mujibur Rahman never wanted to allow religion into the politics. He banned the Bangladesh's Jamaat-e-Islami but after his assassination a lot of things unravelled."Speaking on the attacks on minorities, she said that apart from the democratic system of any country, constitutional protection, non-discriminatory welfare schemes, which are the confidence building factors in any system, all youth must also have respect for the civilizational ethos and the tenets of the constitution.

"Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina also said that there is a system in place which protects the people who become the victim of such attacks," she stressed while highlighting the Bangladesh is a secular country with respect for all religions.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has done a lot to bring in the values of Sarva Dharma Sambhav and Vasudev Kutumbakam and therefore politicisation should not be allowed. Furthermore, she termed what has happened in Sri Lanka as a very unfortunate and tragic situation for the people of Sri Lanka.

"India has done its best to help them in every way possible in terms of fuel, food, pharmaceticals and fertilizers. India has come as a great source of support and help to Sri Lanka."On China's disinterest in Sri Lankan economic crisis the former envoy said, "Even when considered as a traditional partner China has refused to give Sri Lanka help.""China has gotten Sri Lanka into debt. When Sri Lanka was actually in crisis China was nowhere to be seen. It did not give any special financial assistance to Sri Lanka. China's friendship to these countries can be termed as a good weather friendship. When there is a good time, China wants to exploit smaller economies like Sri Lanka and when it's a bad time it's nowhere to be seen." (ANI)

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