New Delhi: India’s role in ensuring regional stability has helped Bangladesh in maintaining political stability that essentially facilitated the country’s growth trajectory, Bangladesh Information Minister Hasan Mahmud said on Tuesday.
In a media interaction, Mahmud also said that the relationship between India and Bangladesh is “very diverse” and it does not depend only on the Teesta water-sharing.
“Political stability in a country is one of the most essential pre-conditions for prosperity. I strongly believe that to maintain the political stability in Bangladesh, regional stability is also important,” he said.
“I would like to thank (India). To keep regional stability, and thereby political stability in Bangladesh, India has played a role,” he said during the interaction at the Press Club.
The ties between India and Bangladesh have been on a significant upswing in a range of areas including trade and connectivity in the last few years.
Mahmud also recalled India’s role in the 1971 Bangladesh liberation war.
To a question on the long-pending issue of Teesta river water sharing, Mahmud said the bilateral relationship does not revolve only around this issue and that both sides are engaged in resolving it.
“The relationship between India and Bangladesh is very diverse, it doesn’t depend only on the Teesta water-sharing. We are sharing many things,” he said.
“There are some obligations and procedures under India’s Constitution. I hope that after following all the procedures, (they) will be resolved in the future,” he noted.
The Teesta deal was set to be signed during the then prime minister Manmohan Singh’s visit to Bangladesh in September 2011 but was postponed at the last minute due to objections raised by West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.
Banerjee had expressed strong reservations against giving Bangladesh a greater share of water from the Teesta river.
Asked about incidents of attacks on Hindu minority members in Bangladesh and whether they could impact bilateral ties, Mahmud said Dhaka came down hard on elements that attempted to foment sectarian tensions.
“This year, Durga Puja was celebrated in a festive manner, and the number of puja pandals increased by 700 over last year. The government has ensured the safety and security of those who follow the Hindu religion,” he said.
“No one is a minority in Bangladesh. Our prime minister says don’t feel you are a minority, you are the son of the soil, this is your country,” he said.
The minister said everyone has equal rights in Bangladesh under the country’s Constitution.
“There are fanatic groups both in India and Bangladesh, they try to ignite fanaticism, they try to destabilise harmony across religious groups. That happens everywhere,” he said.
Asked about the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) in India, he described it as the country’s “internal issue”.
“As an appeal has been submitted in (India’s) Supreme Court, that way it has also become a legal issue,” he said.
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