New Delhi: In a damage control exercise,
India on Saturday said the Prime Minister`s controversial remarks on
sections of Bangladeshi people being under the influence of
ISI were by "no means intended to be judgemental".
"Our attention has been drawn to some off the record
remarks attributed to the Prime Minister during his
interaction with Editors in New Delhi. It is clarified in this
regard that these attributed remarks were by no means intended
to be judgemental," the official spokesperson in the ministry
of External Affairs said.
The spokesperson said the Prime Minister and his
Government and the people of India have the greatest affection
for the people of Bangladesh and hold country`s relations with
Bangladesh to be of the highest importance.
During the interaction with the Editors earlier this
week, Singh had said that with "...Bangladesh, our relations
are quite good. But we must reckon that at least 25 percent of
the population of Bangladesh swear by the Jamiat-ul-Islami and
they are very anti-Indian, and they are in the clutches, many
times, of the ISI."
The remarks were intended to be off the record but
figured in the official transcript of the interaction between
the Prime Minister and the Editors. The remarks were later
deleted from the official transcript.
However, the remarks have sparked negative reactions
in Bangladesh with a former foreign minister terming them
"frustrating" and Jamaat-e-Islami contending that the remarks
do not go with his status.
The official spokesperson also said that India
recognises the stability of the democratically elected
Government and is committed to the non-interference in the
internal affairs of sovereign states.
"In recent years, ties between India and Bangladesh
have seen exceptional heights with close cooperation in a wide
range of areas," the spokesperson noted.
He said the focus on both sides has been development
cooperation, poverty alleviation, capacity building and
"It is in this context that the External Affairs
Minister of India is undertaking an official visit to
Bangladesh. We ware fully committed to our bilateral
relationship with the people and the Government of
Bangladesh," he said.
External Affairs Minister S M Krishna is visiting
Bangladesh from July 6-8 during which he is expected to raise
important regional and bilateral issues with the Bangla