Saturday, March 26, 2005

ASSESSMENT: US-Bangla relations: Making a mountain out of a molehill

As reports of joint Indo-US initiative to contain the 'troubling' situation in Bangladesh were orchestrated in the Indian media, in India-friendly Bangladeshi newspapers and in the Internet, reactions in the country were comically topsy-turvy. Politicians and newspaper commentators of the leftist opposition who are usually very anti-American, seemed to like the Idea of Indo-US intervention to upset the bandwagon of the ruling alliance. A commentator dared the Prime Minister to chide Dr Rice as she had chided, in the Parliament, foreign diplomats who had openly debated issues concerning the internal politics of Bangladesh.There was an express denial by the US embassy in Dhaka. In a press release, it stated that there was no actual initiative jointly undertaken by India and the USA to change the situation in Bangladesh. There was also the news that an FBI representative is again in Dhaka to finalise terms of reference for investigating Kibria's killing and other mysterious bomb-blasts, signifying direct US-Bangladesh cooperation on internal security issues. Reports from Washington suggested that the delay in FBI's arrival was on account of procedural complications of the FBI bureaucracy itself, and the USA was keen on providing help to Bangladesh for its internal security needs............More