NRC will not impact Bangladesh, Foreign Secretary Shringla tells Dhaka

Harsh Vardhan Shringla. | File   | Photo Credit: PTI

The National Register of Citizens (NRC) in India will not affect Bangladesh, Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla said on Monday in Dhaka. Addressing a seminar, the visiting Indian official said that the NRC was rolled out in Assam “entirely at the direction” of the Supreme Court of India.

“Let me clearly state here what our leadership has repeatedly confirmed at the highest level to the government of Bangladesh: this is a process that is entirely internal to India. Therefore, there will be no implications for the government and people of Bangladesh. You have our assurance on that count,” said Mr. Shringla at a seminar organised by the Bangladesh Institute of International and Strategic Studies (BIISS).

Fallout of NRC

Dhaka has in the past expressed concern over the fallout of the NRC, which is aimed at finding undocumented nationals of Bangladesh in India. The NRC process in Assam left nearly two million citizens out of the final NRC list of the State, which was declared on August 31, 2019.

Subsequently, Home Minister Amit Shah’s comments confirming the inevitability of a nationwide NRC and his public proclamations demanding the throwing out of “Bangladeshi infiltrators” had also drawn serious concern from the highest levels in Bangladesh. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina sent a message to India in an interview to a Gulf news outlet in January reiterating that she perceived the NRC as an internal matter for India to deal with.

Mr. Shringla’s current trip, mainly to plan the upcoming visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to attend the centenary celebrations of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, comes in the midst of heightened tension in Dhaka over the recent killing of Muslims in Delhi. The Speaker of Bangladesh’s Jatiyo Sansad, Dr. Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury, cancelled her visit to India a day before the Indian Foreign Secretary was to land in Dhaka.

Strong network

Mr. Shringla, who served as India’s envoy to Dhaka between January 2016 to January 2019, is believed to have a strong network of well-wishers in the Bangladesh government, and is expected to meet with Prime Minister Hasina and other notable people during his two-day trip.

The Foreign Secretary also assured Bangladesh that India would be willing to help find a “mutually acceptable” solution to both Bangladesh and Myanmar that would allow the million-plus Rohingya refugees to return home in Myanmar’s Rakhine province from the Chittagong refugee camps.

He acknowledged the iconic role of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman in the founding of Bangladesh in 1971 and said the government of India was looking forward to the visit of Prime Minister Modi to the inaugural event of ‘Mujib Barsho’ centenary celebrations on March 17.

The Bangladesh government has invited a large number of international personalities, among them Congress president Sonia Gandhi and former President of India Pranab Mukherjee, for the inaugural event.

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Printable version | Dec 7, 2021 9:44:35 AM |

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