Hasina felt indebted to India for support: Wiki

Last Updated: Thursday, September 29, 2011 - 18:13

Dhaka: Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina felt "indebted" to India for supporting her during her
imprisonment under the previous military-backed interim
regime, and had authorised her adviser to open an exclusive
channel of negotiation with New Delhi, unknown even to the
Foreign Ministry.

The premier`s foreign affairs adviser Gawher Rizvi told US
Ambassador James Moriarty over the course of a meeting on
October 24, 2009, how Hasina felt "indebted" to New Delhi,
particularly to the Congress party, for supporting her during
the difficult time, according to a US diplomatic document
revealed by WikiLeaks.

The leaked US embassy cable said the adviser also told the
envoy "in the strictest confidence" of how he had spent the
previous week in India, having been empowered by the prime
minister to open a separate negotiating channel with New Delhi
making use of the wide range of contacts he maintained in the
Indian capital.

Rizvi, a former Ford Foundation Representative in Delhi,
also told Moriarty that he would again be leaving for India
the very next day and that his activities took place through a
"Prime Ministerial Channel".

He also said the channel unknown to anyone in Bangladesh
outside the prime minister`s office, and even the Foreign
Ministry and the Indian High Commission in Dhaka were unaware
of his activities.

While in India, the adviser had apparently met a dozen
ministers and senior officials, including the then National
Security Adviser M K Narayanan.

He also held meetings with the then Foreign Secretary
Nirupama Rao, and remained "convinced" that the Indian
government was committed to resolving a number of long-
standing issues.

Rizvi did however, flag water sharing as the most
difficult issue to be resolved between the two governments - a
judgement that seems to have proven right with the much
publicised failure to reach an agreement over sharing the
waters of the Teesta recently.

Rizvi also informed the US ambassador that Indians were
"pleased" with the level of cooperation on security issues,
but viewed Bangladesh`s lack of counterterrorism capacity as a
major impediment.

The Foreign Ministry comes in for some severe criticism
from Rizvi, who blames it for obstructing progress in several
key areas, including Indian access to Ashuganj port and
resolving the maritime boundary dispute.

The Indian government was apparently "annoyed" about
Bangladesh seeking international arbitration without prior


First Published: Thursday, September 29, 2011 - 18:11

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