: India has expressed the hope that the coming elections in Bangladesh will meet the aspirations of the people of the country and the democratic exercise will be “free, fair, impartial and peaceful.”

The Indian stance on the current crisis in Bangladesh in the run-up to parliamentary elections was summed up by Foreign Secretary Sujatha Sigh who on Wednesday met all stakeholders in Bangladesh politics. Ms. Singh’s visit coincided with the non-stop violence following the Opposition’s hartals and blockades. “As a fellow democracy, India hopes that the coming elections will strengthen democratic institutions, practices and processes in Bangladesh,” Ms. Singh told journalists.

Replying to questions, she said, India wanted to see an election in which “as many parties as possible” contest and whose results people would accept.

She had “a very fruitful set of meetings” with Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, Leader of the Opposition Khaleda Zia, Jatiya Party chairman H.M. Ershad and Foreign Minister of the interim government A.H. Mahmud Ali. She also held a meeting with her Bangladesh counterpart M. Shahidul Haque.

Indian High Commissioner Pankaj Saran was present.

Ms. Singh said she conveyed to the Prime Minister the importance India attached to Bangladesh and to peace and stability in that country.