Sheikh Hasina is all set to form the government after winning a thumping majority in the violence-ridden national election in Bangladesh. However, in the light of the U.S. having expressed concern over the process and appealed for a re-election that would bring on board the Opposition and all citizens, India’s stance on the matter will be interesting to watch. India, which has had great relations with its neighbour over the last five years, may well view Ms. Hasina’s victory favourably. But given the ongoing Khobragade imbroglio and the resultant coarseness of ties with the U.S., it may be loath to oppose the U.S. view. A real test of diplomacy lies ahead for India.
Ms. Hasina’s Awami League scored high in a contest that was shunned by international observers for being flawed and derided as a farce by the Opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party. With fewer than half the seats contested, the conclusion was practically foregone. The party chief, Khaleda Zia, is reportedly under virtual house arrest. The political crisis has no prospect of resolution so long as such oppression persists. Those who aspire to lead must do everything in their power to ensure law and order and refrain from endorsing violence, inflammatory rhetoric and intimidation.
The U.S.’s call for a re-election in Bangladesh, a Westphalian state in its own right, is unwarranted. India has rightly observed that the rule-book was adhered to during the election. Its policy of non-interference in the internal matters of another country, be it its own neighbour, is a wise practice. The U.S. would do well to embrace the changing world order.