Yet another pointer incumbents’ appeasement policy to India
THE Awami League-led government’s decision to allow India to lay power transmission lines from its two north-eastern provinces to Pashchim Banga through Bangladesh is open to be construed as its appeasement policy towards India, something that has already drawn huge public criticism. According to a New Age report on Saturday, the prime minister, also the minister for power, energy and mineral resources, has given ‘her consent in principle’ to the issue on August 6, while her energy adviser has asked power division officials at a meeting on Thursday to approve a report prepared by a joint-technical team comprising six power officials of both the countries on the project. Although Bangladesh may buy some portion of the power to be carried by the transmission line, the project is intended mainly to transfer power produced in India’s Arunachal province, a hydro-power hub, to its other provinces at cheaper costs.
It may be pertinent to recall here that just a few weeks ago, the government decided to allow India to ship food grains from Kolkata to Tripura, using the river port at Ashuganj in Brahmanbaria without any charge. Besides, in 2011 and 2012, India carried several heavy equipment to a power plant then under construction in Tripura through the same route without any fee as well. More importantly, the AL-led incumbent government has been giving unilateral concessions one after another to India, while many crucial issues concerning Bangladesh’s interests in particular with the latter have remained unresolved for decades now. For example, India is yet to ensure Bangladesh a fair share of all the trans-boundary rivers’ water, and judicious solution to border disputes between the two countries is still a far cry just for the lack of sincerity on the part of the former. Additionally, promises repeatedly given so far by the India government high-ups to show zero-tolerance to the killing of Bangladeshis by its security forces along the border have not yet translated to reality.
It may be true that, being bordered by India to its north, east and west, Bangladesh needs to have a good relationship with India. However, it is also true that such a relationship should be based on mutual respect at the very least. In addition, when the relationship between two nations in particular is devoid of give and take, it is anything but sustainable. To make India realise all this, however, the incumbents need to stop giving further unilateral concession like the one in question. At the same time, the conscious sections of society also need to mount pressure on the government over the issue in a sustained manner.
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