Allaying India’s security concerns, Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Tuesday said that she will never allow her soil to be used for any anti-India activities and that New Delhi need not worry about this as long as she is there.
Hasina also made it clear that India should have no worries about growing Bangladesh -China relations as it is not only China but also Japan, Saudi Arabia and other nations are also investing in Bangladesh.
“We need investments. We need money for the development of Bangladesh,” Hasina said. Without naming China she added that India should also maintain good friendly relations with its neighbours.
Bangladesh, which will be going for elections at the end of this year, has seen political parties stoking anti-India sentiments to garner votes. Hasina and her Awami league party are seeking a straight third term. However, Hasina is confident that the relationship with India is on a high and stable and it is in the interest of the future Governments to use it for the betterment of their people.
“Governments come and go. If there is any problem we can resolve it bilaterally. The land boundary agreement (lBA) and its implementation was historic. The way exchanges happened of people after lBA was also joyful and unprecedented in history of the world. No one can do it the way the two Governments implemented it peacefully and in great coordination,” Hasina said.
The PM expressed confidence that the pending issues between the countries including Teesta will be resolved in a similar way.
Talking about the security relations with India, Hasina underlined that destroying terror safe havens from Bangladesh soil was a risky step for her to take but she wanted peace with India and there was no way she would have let these terror camps continue.
Responding to questions from a delegation of Indian journalists who are in Dhaka for an Indo-Bangladesh Dialogue, Hasina said that growing religious fundamentalism is a major concern in Bangladesh but people are increasingly getting alert and conscious.
“ We are a secular country and we have declared zero tolerance on extremism,” she said.
Hasina acknowledged such major step crackdown on terror groups has posed threat to her own life but she was determined to do it for the sake of her own country's safety and that of India.
“It is a big risk when you ban such terror groups. My entire family was assassinated on this soil. I have faced threats. But I am not scared. As long as I live I will fight such elements,” Bangladesh PM said. On a lighter note, Hasina said that India should give the money it has saved from fighting these terror groups that have been destroyed, to Bangladesh for its development.
On the Rohingya issue, Hasina said Bangladesh expects India to play an assertive role is resolving the crisis and wanted New Delhi to pressurise Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi to provide adequate security to the Rohingyas who will be returning soon from Bangladesh.