Wednesday, February 02, 2005

ANALYSIS: SAARC- Delhi digs on terror

+ Asked if New Delhi’s “concern” did not amount to interfering in the internal affairs of Bangladesh, the sources said “if there is some kind of fundamentalist culture, it can have a direct impact on India.” They said any move to undermine democracy or secular character of Bangladesh could have a bearing on this country.+

01/02/2005

Delhi digs on terror

With the Saarc summit beginning in Dhaka a few days from now, India is deeply worried about the deteriorating law and order situation in Bangladesh, especially after attacks on senior Opposition leaders.

According to official sources, India feels that the security situation is grave and the series of strikes could make it worse. While India has committed to go and has not changed its mind, the attacks on Opposition leaders (Awami League leader Ms Hasina Wajed was attacked some time ago) is an issue of concern.

During the meeting, India will express its concern bilaterally or directly to Bangladesh. The concern is even more because the border between the two countries is relatively porous.

A similar concern exists about Nepal. Sources said the Maoist problem is continuing and certainly not improving. India has decided to ask political parties and the monarchy to meet the challenge. So far, India has provided military assistance but there can be no military solution and India can only be involved if Nepal asks for assistance.

Till now, India has only been involved in supporting the Nepalese security forces and sharing of intelligence but what it hopes to do is nudge the political forces towards a national consensus. Then, a credible peace process could begin.

Asking Pakistan to do much more to dismantle terrorist infrastructure in that country, India on Monday made it clear that there can be no bargaining or conditions imposed while fulfilling this pledge. According to sources, “Whatever we are doing is part of a well thought out roadmap and we have not deflected from that.” They clarified that there was no intention on New Delhi’s part to put the Jammu and Kashmir issue on the backburner by suggesting some 100 confidence building measures (CBMs) to promote cooperation between the two countries in diverse fields.

On the forthcoming 13th SAARC Summit in Dhaka, India expressed grave concern over the security situation in Bangladesh and said it was keeping a close watch on the developments in the neighbouring country. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will visit Dhaka for the summit from February 5-7 and will also also hold a bilateral meeting with Bangladesh Premier Begum Khaleda Zia, according to sources.

“As of now, we are participating in the summit. The security situation there is rather grave with strikes being called by the Opposition parties. We are keeping the situation under watch,” the sources said. They said anyone worried about democracy in Bangladesh would be concerned over the situation in that country. In this connection, the sources referred to the recent killing of former Bangladesh Finance Minister Abu Mohammad Shahsul Kibria, MP, along with his nephew Shah Manjurul Huda and three others, in an explosion at a political rally in Habibganj District on January 27.

Asked if New Delhi’s “concern” did not amount to interfering in the internal affairs of Bangladesh, the sources said “if there is some kind of fundamentalist culture, it can have a direct impact on India.” They said any move to undermine democracy or secular character of Bangladesh could have a bearing on this country.##