India stood by our election when Opposition, foreign countries tried to disturb it: Bangladesh Minister

This is the first time a Bangladeshi politician has talked about India’s support during the recently concluded election process

January 28, 2024 11:55 pm | Updated 11:55 pm IST - NEW DELHI

Minister of Road Transport and Bridges Obaidul Quader argued that the government of Sheikh Hasina has worked to break the “wall of doubt and mistrust” that existed between India and Bangladesh for many years. File

Minister of Road Transport and Bridges Obaidul Quader argued that the government of Sheikh Hasina has worked to break the “wall of doubt and mistrust” that existed between India and Bangladesh for many years. File | Photo Credit: AFP

India stood by Bangladesh’s election process when the Opposition tried to cancel the polling, said one of the senior-most leaders of the Awami League government in Dhaka. Speaking to reporters in Dhaka, Minister of Road Transport and Bridges Obaidul Quader, who is also the general secretary of the party, assured that the country’s relationship with India will stay on course and new projects in connectivity are under way.

“India has behaved like an honest neighbour which was necessary. There are a few parties in the Opposition in our country who had allied with a few foreign powers to disturb our election process. At that point, India stood by us. That is something we have to acknowledge,” said Mr. Quader, arguing that the government of Sheikh Hasina has worked to break the “wall of doubt and mistrust” that existed between India and Bangladesh for many years.

“For twenty-one years, this wall of mistrust disturbed [our] relationship. Our relation with India will remain on track in the future and there will be no crack in it as per my understanding,” he said.

The Minister is one of the topmost political figures in Bangladesh and is known for having a ground-level network across Bangladesh.

India had maintained a studied silence ahead of the election in Bangladesh that took place on January 7 and led to the election of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina for a fourth consecutive term. Ms. Hasina’s government came under pressure from the United States and the European Union ahead of the polling as they demanded a transparent process. India, however, maintained silence in the face of growing calls on Bangladesh to stay on the democratic course.

Before the election, comments like Mr. Quader’s were made by other politicians of the Awami League, including Foreign Minister Hasan Mahmud. But this is the first time that Mr. Quader has talked about support from India. Speaking to the reporters, he said that there is an agreement with India on combating extremism and communalism. “Our two sides are in agreement that we need to strengthen bilateral relation, especially in the background of the current global situation,” he said.

Before meeting with the reporters, Mr. Quader hosted Indian High Commissioner Pranay Verma in his office and discussed several projects being funded under the Line of Credit from India. The meeting indicated continuing dialogue between the two sides before India welcomes Mr. Mahmud who is scheduled to arrive here on February 7.

“Road connectivity and electric buses are part of our cooperation. Our ongoing projects and how India can become a partner in these projects were discussed,” Mr. Quader said after his meeting with Mr. Verma.

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