Bangladesh maintains prudent stance on Chinese influence, assures India: Foreign Minister

  • People have again expressed that they have the right to vote and that voting is the only way for the change of a government
  • Democracy is working in Bangladesh

DHAKA: The Awami League’s sweeping victory in the recent general elections in Bangladesh has secured Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s fourth consecutive term. In the aftermath of her win, Hasina acknowledged India’s support, describing it as a “trusted friend”.

In an exclusive interview with India Today TV, Bangladesh’s Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen discussed the implications of the election on India-Bangladesh relations, the country’s ties with China, and the ongoing diplomatic tension between India and the Maldives.

Dr Momen dismissed criticism about the fairness of the election process and the non-participation of opposition parties. He described the election as the most free, fair, transparent, and non-violent in Bangladesh’s history. Despite a boycott by smaller groups and the opposition party, the people voted in large numbers, demonstrating their belief in the power of the vote.

Addressing pre-election violence, Dr Momen assured that the police would handle the situation, aided by CCTV cameras to identify the culprits. He emphasized that there is no place for violence or terrorism in politics.

In response to Western critics questioning the stability of democracy in Bangladesh, Dr Momen asserted that democracy is very stable in the country. He pointed to the recent election, where 120 million voters participated, as evidence of a functioning democracy. He stated that Bangladesh is one of the vanguards of democracy in the world, having demonstrated a free, fair, transparent, and credible election.

Dr Momen expressed confidence in the solid relationship between India and Bangladesh, a bond that dates back to Bangladesh’s war of independence. He praised the leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and Prime Minister Narendra Modi in fostering a strong rapport and relationship. He expressed a desire to further solidify the relationship between India and Bangladesh and all other neighbours.

Commenting on the derogatory statements made by three Maldivian ministers about PM Modi, Dr Momen emphasized the importance of respecting others and honouring their dignity and office.

Dr Momen dismissed the perception of China’s growing influence in the region, particularly in Bangladesh. He clarified that China is a development partner and has been assisting Bangladesh in various projects. However, he noted that the financial aid received from China is less than 1 per cent of Bangladesh’s GDP. He reassured that Bangladesh is prudent in receiving any aid or fund and that people should not fear that Bangladesh would succumb to the Chinese.

In response to a question about the possible effects of India’s Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) on Bangladesh, Foreign Minister Dr. AK Abdul Momen conveyed his trust in India’s capacity to manage the situation. He underscored the robustness and wisdom of India’s government, a foundation firmly established in its profound values and customs. Dr Momen is of the opinion that India will tackle any emerging issues in a way that upholds its fundamental values and principles. Consequently, he does not foresee any cause for worry about the potential repercussions of the CAA on Bangladesh.