`India, Bangla ties to strengthen under new govt after polls`

Bilateral ties between India and Bangladesh will be further strengthened irrespective of the government formed after the general election, a former Bangladesh foreign minister said here today.

PTI| Last Updated: May 09, 2014, 22:10 PM IST

London: Bilateral ties between India and Bangladesh will be further strengthened irrespective of the government formed after the general election, a former Bangladesh foreign minister said here today.

Dr Dipu Moni, former foreign minister and current chair of the standing committee on foreign relations in the Bangladesh Parliament, said the two governments will continue working closely on issues such as water sharing and border security.

"It is up to the Indian population to decide whoever they want as Prime Minister but whichever government takes over, our relations will only strengthen," Moni told reporters during his visit to London.

"Our experience has been that Indian foreign policy does not change to that extent when governments change. It is far more stable and we hope the environment of friendship and cooperation that has built up in the region will continue," she said.

The Awami League leader also talked about plans for a broader water-sharing agreement between the two countries in the coming years, including on the controversial Teesta River bordering West Bengal.

"The idea of sharing of common resources is growing and even (West Bengal chief minister) Mamata Banerjee has been making conciliatory speeches over the issue recently....There has been tremendous cooperation between India and Bangladesh and issues like terrorist activities in border areas is no longer a problem due to this engagement over security matters," she said.

Moni highlighted the gradual democratic process taking root in Bangladesh following elections in the country earlier this year.

"Democracy is not built in a day. We are all learning on the job and moving towards a new Bangladesh, which will take time. We are a secular society and we will not allow extremism to flourish," she said.
Moni accused members of the Jamaat-e-Islami and Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) of using London as a hub for some of their activities to discredit the Sheikh Hasina-led Bangladesh government.
"We have been cooperating with the UK government to ensure such elements are not allowed to use London as a hub for their activities that use Islam as a front and propagate lies to the world," she said.