Indo-Bangladesh Relation: Ways to Mend
Thursday September 20 2012 22:20:00 PM BDT
Major Faruk Ahmed (Retd)
Introduction:Bangladesh and India – being neighbouring states and having economic and diplomatic relation; should maintain mutual trust and cooperation based on mutual interests and respect to each other’s sovereignty.
Though the relationship is termed as ‘friendly’ by the ruling Awami League regime of Bangladesh; evidences show that India maintains a hegemonic attitude towards Bangladesh through the unfair treaties and MOUs, violation of those treaties/MOUs and various unfriendly actions being undertaken by India against Bangladesh.
Now, it is essential to review this chocolate-coated relation.
This essay will endeavour to highlight on followings:
a. India’s basic foreign policy towards Bangladesh (7 Point Treaty with Tajuddin Ahmed).
b. Psychological makeup of Indian leaders and Intellectuals regarding Bangladesh.
c. Examples of India’s hostile behaviour against Bangladesh.
d. India’s desires and wants from Bangladesh.
e. Ways to mend the relation with Bangladesh.
India’s basic foreign policy towards Bangladesh (7 Point Treaty with Tajuddin Ahmed)
The 7 point Agreement1 that India compelled the exile Bangladeshi Govt led by Tajuddin Ahmed, to sign during our Liberation War which envisaged to convert Bangladesh into a colony of India devoid of any sovereign right. Let us have a glance on that Agreement: (Quote) (1) A para-military armed force for Bangladesh will be raised under supervision of the Indian military experts; this force shall be stronger and more active than the regular armed forces of Bangladesh. (2) Bangladesh shall procure all military equipment from India and under planned supervision of the Indian military experts. (3) Bangladesh shall direct her foreign trade under supervision and control of the Indian government. (4) Yearly and five-yearly development plans for Bangladesh shall conform to Indian development plans. (5) Foreign policy of Bangladesh must be compatible with and conform to that of India. (6) Bangladesh shall not unilaterally rescind any of the treaties without prior approval of the Indian government. (7) In accordance with the treaties signed before December (1971) war of Pakistan and India, Indian force shall enter into Bangladesh at any time and shall crush any resistance that may erupt there. (Unquote)
Psychological makeup of Indian leaders and Intellectuals regarding Bangladesh
a. Indian political analyst MV Kamath’s view on Bangladesh. MV Kamath wrote2 in Mail, India in 2003, "Let it be said in simple and plain language: Bangladesh has no business to exist. Its creation in 1947 was as historic a mistake as Lord Curzon's partition of Bengal was in 1905. Curzon's plan to divide Bengal was annulled because in the end Bengal's sense of unity prevailed. Bangladesh, if it wants to survive, must return to India and India in return must help it to do so.’’
b. Addressing Bangladesh’s Prime Minister as ‘Mukkho Montri. Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina was once addressed as ‘Chief Minister’ in a programme in Calcatta which shows how the status of Bangladeshi Prime Minister is viewed by some Indians.
c. Indian leader Lal Krishna Advani threatened to bomb on BDR HQ3. After Indian troops suffered heavy casualties assaulting a BDR post in 2001 in which around 25 Indian soldiers were killed by defending Force BDR; then Indian leader Lal Krishna Advani threatened to destroy BDR Headquarters in Dhaka by bombing.
d. Keeping Bangladesh under India’s radar. In an article published in The Asian Age, India, on March 24, 2009, General Shankar Roy Chowdhury (Retd) - a former Chief of Army Staff and a former Member of Indian Parliament said, ‘’ But alas, too easily and all too often Bangladesh keeps slipping off New Delhi’s radar screen. This must not be allowed to happen now.’’ 4
e. BJP leader Subramaniun Swami suggests annexation of part of Bangladesh territory by India. Former Indian cabinet minister and Janata Party leader Subramanian Swamy suggested to annex land from Bangladesh. Swamy's suggestion came through an article published by an Indian newspaper Daily News & Analysis or DNA on July 16, 2011. The article suggested that "northern one-third from Sylhet to Khulna can be annexed to re-settle the illegal migrants". 5
f. India backed Shanti Bahini. Subir Bhaumik, a journalist and academic researcher for the last three decades, has provided graphic details of the RAW's involvement in the Chittagong Hill Tracts and Burma's Kachin Hills in his latest book. Indira Gandhi was voted out of power in 1977, just when India's external intelligence organisation, RAW, was preparing to substantially step up its backing for the Shanti Bahini, says Subir Bhaumik in his just- released book " Troubled Periphery: Crisis of India's Northeast", reports bdnews24.com6.
The Chakma guerrillas had closely assisted RAW operatives. They were assisted during and after the liberation War. The Chakmas, after the change of govt in 1975, contacted the RAW. (Inside RAW : The Story of India’s Secret Service, Asoka Raina, Vikas Publishers, New Delhi, 1981, pp.86-87)7.
In 1975, the RAW was instructed to assist the Chakma rebels with arms, supplies , bases and training. Training was conducted in the border camps in Tripura but specialized training was imparted at Chakrata near Dehra Doon. Shantu Larma’s Shanti Bahini members were flown to Chakrata and then sent back to Tripura to infiltrate into Chittagong Hill Tracts. A RAW office and its operatives at Agartala monitored the progress of the trainees. In 1976, the Shanti Bahini launched its first attack on the Bangladesh force. A new insurgency had been born and India’s secret war in the hills of Bangladesh had begun (South Asia’s Fractured Frontier, by Binalaksmi Nepram, Mittal Pablishers, New Delhi, 2002, pp-153).
g. RAW plotted to assassinate Bangladesh’s President. ‘’Inside RAW’’, Ashok Raina8. Ashok Raina- a former high official of RAW wrote that RAW has planned to assassinate Bangladesh’s President Zia. RAW retained a keen interest in Bangladesh even after its independence. Mr. Subramaniam Swamy, Janata Dal MP, a close associate of Morarji Desai said that Rameswar Nath Kao, former Chief of RAW, and Shankaran Nair upset about Sheikh Mujib’s assassination chalked a plot to kill General Ziaur Rahman. However, when Morarji Desai came into power in 1977 he was indignant at RAW’s role in Bangladesh and ordered operations in Bangladesh to be called off; but by then RAW had already gone too far. General Zia continued to be in power for quite some time but he was assassinated after Indira Gandhi returned to power, though she denied her involvement in his assassination (Weekly Sunday, Calcutta,18 September, 1988 )9.
Examples of India’s hostile behaviour against Bangladesh
a. India has hijacked the victory of newborn Bangladesh’s Independence War.
b. India has taken away assets of Bangladesh.
c. India is depriving Bangladesh from due share of 54 international river waters.
d. India has instigated, trained, armed, and sheltered Chakma terrorists named Shanti Bahini of CHTs and allowed Indian soil to be used against Bangladesh.
e. India has raided on Padua BDR BOP (Border Observation Post) of Bangladesh.
f. India put barriers on BD’s export and maintains a trade gap of 4.2 billion USD.
g. India allows smuggle of drugs and illegal arms through the border.
h. Indian BSF has killed more than 1000 Bangladeshi citizens at border areas.
i. India is sheltering separatist organization- Bangabhumi Andolon.
j. India is conducting hostile propaganda against Bangladesh.
k. India has occupied Talpotti Island of Bangladesh.
l. India has plotted assassination of Bangladhesh’s President - Ziaur Rahman.
India’s desires and wants from Bangladesh
a. Use of Bangladesh territory as corridor.
b. Using Bangladesh to suppress the movement of Indian NE states.
c. Bangladesh to serve as India’s economic colony.
d. Maintaining chosen party in power of Bangladesh to serve India’s interests.
e. Control foreign policy of Bangladesh.
f. Domination on Bangladesh Army.
g. Domination on Bangladesh intelligence agencies.
h. Control and domination on border.
i. Control water flow of all international rivers entering Bangladesh.
j. Maintaining a loyal intellectual group in Dhaka and abroad.
k. Maintaining armed insurgency in CHTs (Chittagong Hill Tracts) of Bangladesh.
l. Cultural domination on Bangladesh.
m. Divert the route of Asian High Way as follows: ‘India-Bangladesh-Indian NE states’ instead of ‘India-Bangladesh-Mayanmar’.
n. Occupying bordering lands and claiming sea areas limiting maritime boundary of Bangladesh.
o. Breaking Bangladeshi Nation’s will to protect national independence, security and sovereignty.
p. Reducing Bangladesh to the status of Bhutan and making it unviable to survive and ultimately leading to Sikimization.
Ways to mend the relation with Bangladesh
Before accusing that all Bangladeshi people are anti-Indian, India may consider followings:
a. Return the victory earned by Bangladeshi Nation by handing over the ‘Instrument of Surrender’ of Pakistani troops in Dhaka.
b. Return all assets looted from Bangladesh after 16 December 1971.
c. Demolish Farakka Barrage and all other barrages built over 54 international rivers to ensure unobstructed flow of water.
d. Hand over all details of India’s support given to Shanti Bahini separatists and stop allowing use of Indian Territory by armed groups now active in CHTs.
e. Hand over documents regarding assassination plot on Bangladesh’s President.
f. Giving compensation for loss and affects of Farakka on Bangladesh which is more than 100 billion USD.
g. Give written commitment of ‘no further killing of any Bangladeshi citizen at border area’.
h. Provide compensation for all killed, injured and tortured by BSF.
i. Lift all barriers and restrictions on export of Bangladeshi products to India and ensure equality in trade.
j. Stop all sorts of anti-Bangladesh propaganda in the media.
k. Stop unfairly patronizing and influencing a particular political party in Bangladesh.
l. Expose all secret MOUs signed by present Govt.
m. Cancel the ‘Framework Agreement for Cooperation’ signed between Hasina and Monmohon.
n. Abandon all plan and projects of using Bangladesh territory as corridor.
o. Stop smuggling of phencidyl and illegal arms into Bangladesh.
p. Stop sheltering separatist and fundamentalist group - Bongobhumi Andolon.
q. Withdraw from Bangladesh’s Talpotti Island.
r. Abandon undue claim on Bangladesh’s maritime boundary.
s. Abandon Tipaimukh Project which will have devastating affect on Bangladesh.
t. Stop surrounding Bangladesh by birbed wire fence.
u. Facilitate Bangladeshi TV channels to operate in West Bengal.
v. Hand over Tin-Bigha Corridor to Bangladesh as per Mujib-Indira Treaty.
w. Review and redefine past foreign policy towards Bangladesh and undertake friendly policy-approach.
The undue influence and unfriendly actions so far undertaken by India against Bangladesh - is viewed by most of the Bangladeshi people as the display of Indian hegemonic attitude.
The 160 million patriotic citizens of Bangladesh are determined to protect and preserve their national security and sovereignty at any cost.
Bangladesh needs to engage India diplomatically so that India corrects her attitude and abandons all the above mentioned unfriendly acts. Any unresolved issues such as water share of international rivers and border killings should be projected to the international forums.
The peace loving people of Bangladesh hope that India will extend her cleaned hand of friendship to Bangladesh which is essential for the mutual interest of both the countries.
Writer: Major Faruk Ahmed (Retd)
Dated: 17 September, 2012
1. 7 Point Treaty with Tajuddin Ahmed: Oli Ahad, Jatio Rajniti (1945 to 1975), 2nd Ed., Bangladesh Cooperative Book Society, Dhaka , p. 450.
2. M V Kamath, The Mail, India, 8 March 2003, The Problem that is Bangladesh http://email@example.com/msg03800.html.
3. Advani threatened to bomb BDR HQ.
4. Delhi can’t afford to let Dhaka slip off its radar, General Shankar Roy Chowdhury (Retd), The Asian Age, India, March 24, 2009.
5. Annex part of Bangladesh, BJP leader Subramanin Swami, http://ns.bdnews24.com/details.php?id=213526&cid=2
6. "Troubled Periphery: Crisis of India's Northeast", Subir Bhaumik. India backed Shanti Bahini http://www.bdnews24.com/details.php?id=146560&cid=2
7. Inside RAW : The Story of India’s Secret Service, Asoka Raina, Vikas Publishers, New Delhi, 1981, pp.86-87.
8. Inside RAW - Ashok Raina, Vikas Publishing House New Delhi, 1981.
9. Indian RAW operations in South Asian Countries, Isha Khan, http://www.bangladesh-web.com/view.php?hidRecord=383056
Major Faruk Ahmed (Retd)
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