Friday, February 04, 2005

INDIA: Dr Singh's Shock Treatment to Dhaka SAARC Summit Hopefuls

+ Privileged sources said the Foreign Ministry and PMO were ready for Dr. Singh’s visit to Dhaka, but Dr. Singh had other plans. He categorically refused to participate in the Summit after the security report came in. Dr. Singh had also wanted not to give any opportunity to the Nepal King Gyanendra to explain his controversial sacking of democracy to the leaders of the SAARC nations. The decision not to travel to Dhaka was taken by Dr. Singh after consultations with Left party leaders on February 1, top BJP leaders on February 2 and on the assessment of the security team that traveled to Dhaka. But, according to privileged sources, he did not let anybody know about his moves till the meeting of the PMO held on Monday. +






04/02/2005

Dr Singh's Shock Treatment to Dhaka SAARC Summit Hopefuls
By Arun Rajnath

NEW DELHI, February 3: The Indian Foreign Minister and his top officials were given some shock treatment by Dr Manmohan Singh, the Prime Minister on Monday.

Against their recommendations and hope, Dr. Singh decided to abstain from the SAARC Summit in Dhaka and announced his decision at a crucial meeting at the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) when it had completed all preparations for Indian participation.

Privileged sources said the Foreign Ministry and PMO were ready for Dr. Singh’s visit to Dhaka, but Dr. Singh had other plans. He categorically refused to participate in the Summit after the security report came in. Dr. Singh had also wanted not to give any opportunity to the Nepal King Gyanendra to explain his controversial sacking of democracy to the leaders of the SAARC nations.

This is the second time in succession when the SAARC Summit was postponed. Previously, the Summit, scheduled from January 9 to 11, was put off in the wake of the Tsunami disaster. Under the SAARC charter, a Summit cannot be held even if one of the seven heads of government/state cannot attend.

The decision not to travel to Dhaka was taken by Dr. Singh after consultations with Left party leaders on February 1, top BJP leaders on February 2 and on the assessment of the security team that traveled to Dhaka. But, according to privileged sources, he did not let anybody know about his moves till the meeting of the PMO held on Monday.

In the meeting of the PMO, which was attended by the Foreign Minister Natwar Singh and senior officials of the PMO, everybody was of the view that India should participate in the SAARC Summit as King Gyanendra has announced his participation.

Even Foreign Minister Natwar Singh wanted to participate in the meeting. He contended that if India would refuse to participate, it would deteriorate its relations with Nepal and Bangladesh. But Prime Minister refused to budge.

According to the sources, PM Singh told the participants of the meeting that he could not relish shaking hands with a King who only a couple of days earlier sent the democratic forces packing. It was pointed out in the meeting that the Prime Minister had quietly mobilized political opinion behind this “send a tough message” strategy.

Thereafter, Foreign Secretary Shyam Saran was summoned to the PMO for consultations, and told to inform the High Commission of Bangladesh of India’s decision.

He categorically said that he would not allow King Gyanendra to have an opportunity to explain his position to the other leaders of the SAARC nations. Besides, Dr. Singh also wanted to give a message to Bangladesh Prime Minister Khalida Zia that India will now take a tough stance over infiltration, training camps of the terrorists and smuggling of contrabands to India.

Highly placed sources told the South Asia Tribune that in the meeting, the security report of Bangladesh and the present condition of anti-India forces were also discussed at length. According to the security report the rebels of the two States of Manipur and Tripura work hand in hand. One has a base at the India-Myanmar border, the other at the India-Bangladesh border.

The anti-India activities are being carried out by the rebels of the region from these two neighboring countries, especially from Bangladesh where they are getting full support from certain governmental quarters.

If the People’s Liberation Army, People’s Revolutionary Party of Kangleipak, United National Liberation Front and the Kangleipak Communist Party pose threat to Manipur, Tripura has their sister rebel outfits such as the National Liberation Front of Tripura (Biswamohan Debbarma faction), National Liberation Front of Tripura (Nayanbashi Jamatia faction) and All Tripura Tiger Force.

According to the report at least 3,000 odd militants are in the camps along the Indo-Bangladesh border. Sources said that the time is not fit for the Prime Minister to visit to Dhaka because the Bangladeshi government has been refusing to dismantle the training camps on its soil.