Dhaka: Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheiukh Hasina has dismissed as "bogus" the campaign against the country being connected to the proposed Asian Highway through India.
Ruling out any possibility of threat to the sovereignty of the country from the proposed highway, she told the Parliament on Wednesday that Bangladesh would have control over its parts of the routes that would make re-entry into India via Bangladesh.
In an oblique reference to main opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) and its allies, Hasina said, "They are frightening people saying that India will grab everything once Bangladesh is connected to the Asian Highway.”
"But we cannot close our doors due to imaginary fears. We do not believe that India will take everything away," Hasina was quoted as saying by The Daily Star.
"Asian Highway is an international network of routes and we cannot be in isolation by shutting our doors," she said.
She said if anyone checks with Google it will clear the confusion that the highway will not only connect Bangladesh with India but it will also connect it with many other countries like China, the Middle East and Europe.
After signing the agreement there is a scope for further discussion on the alternative route, she said, adding, "It is not that Bangladesh`s expectation is everything; ESCAP (Economic and Social Commission for Asia and Pacific) must have a say about it."
The Hasina government is set to sign the agreement with the ESCAP to join the Asian Highway, something Zia has opposed in the past.
Zia has called the new move "a sell out" and a "conspiracy".
"We got our independence through war. Our patriotism is not so fragile that we will not be able to protect the interest of our country," Hasina said while replying to a question.
She criticised the Zia government for opposing the ESCAP plan on the "excuse" that India would get transit facilities through this highway, the newspaper said.
The present government, after assuming power, decided in principle to link the country to the Asian Highway while considering the expansion of the country`s communications, trade and commerce in the region, she added.
On June 15, the cabinet also approved a proposal in this regard.
"A large amount of money will be invested for the construction of the highway, which will create employment opportunity. We do not want to miss that opportunity," she said.