Unprecedented political unanimity in Bangladesh over Modi’s visit

Dhaka(PTI): On the eve of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit, Bangladesh witnessed an unprecedented unanimity among rival political parties, with the ruling Awami League and the opposition BNP on the same page over having better ties with India.

“It is due to the leadership of our leader and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina that there is such an unanimity among the parties regarding Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit,” said State Minister for Foreign Affairs Shahriar Alam.

“This not just a visit of a head of a nation to Dhaka. But a new chapter in the relationship between both India and Bangladesh. Both the countries need each other, there are sectors where India has made massive progress, there are areas where we have made huge progress,” he said.

Alam, highlighting the impact of having better ties with India, said the signing of documents to operationalise the long-pending Land Boundary Agreement (LBA) will open new avenues for both the countries. “The interdependence between both the countries on various sectors has no place for the big-brotherly attitude as alleged by various detractors who are against good relations between both the countries.

“We have gained a lot from the LBA agreement. The joint leadership of Sheikh Hasina and Narendra Modi will fight against the common enemy known as poverty. If we miss this train we are going to miss this forever,” Alam said.

Advisor to BNP chairperson Khaleda Zia, Enam Ahmed Chowdhury, felt the need to carry forward the relationship between the two nations by sorting out political differences. “The political differences between both the countries are coming down and it is for both of us, how we can both join hands and use it as a platform for future,” Chowdhury said.

Chowdhury, while praising the Indo-Bangla collaboration in solving the 1974 LBA, however, pointed out the need for cooperation over the Teesta water sharing agreement as well. Jamaat-e-Islami party, known for its anti-India stance, too has welcomed Modi’s visit.

“We welcome the visit whole-heartedly. Bangladesh has a friendly relation with India. The bilateral friendly relation between the two countries will be strengthened further after this visit,” Jamaat’s acting ameer Moqbul Ahmad has said.

“This is part of Narendra Modiji’s ‘Act East’ policy. This visit will not only cement ties between both the countries and will open new avenues,” BJP spokesperson M J Akbar told PTI. Writer and social activist Shariyar Kabir said: “It is for the first time we are seeing such a unanimity between both the parties over a visit of an Indian Prime Minister.” “This change of stance in the behaviour of Jamaat regarding the visit of an Indian leader, shows the success of Sheikh Hasina in achieving political unanimity,” said Kabir.