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“India’s understanding of Bangladesh will help U.S”

Sandeep Dikshit
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Khurshid says while U.S. is at some distance from Bangladesh, India is right next to it

Salman Khurshid
Salman Khurshid

As the political situation in Bangladesh becomes increasingly volatile, India has hinted at the need for a united approach between India and the United States.

“We don’t discuss democracy in third countries but we do hope the U.S. … there were obviously some differences of perception [with respect to Bangladesh] that I noticed last time I was there [Washington], particularly in the dealing of the present government with some of their own internal institutions,” External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid told The Hindu .

Officials in the Ministry of External Affairs said they have been trying to close this difference of approach between India and the U.S. for quite some time.

Mr. Khurshid pointed out that India’s understanding of Bangladesh should be helpful to the U.S. “While the U.S. is at some distance from Bangladesh, we are right next to it. So our understanding of the region and understanding of sentiments of the people in the region should be helpful in the positions they want to take.”

Violence has increased in Bangladesh, mainly over the coming general election that is being boycotted by the main Opposition party and its allies. Besides, violent protests hit the country each time Jamaat-e-Islami leaders were arraigned by the courts and one senior leader was hanged.

While Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina proposed an all-party interim government, Bangladesh Nationalist Party chief Khaleda Zia, the Opposition leader, wants the previous elections’ caretaker system.

“Bangladesh situation is obviously very uncertain and delicate because the Opposition and the government have not been able to come to an agreement on how to proceed,” Mr. Khurshid observed.

While this was a major concern for India, “we don’t take sides on what happens in elections in a friendly country. For democracy to prosper there should at least be a commitment that violence will not be allowed to distort the democratic process,” he added.


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