Bangladesh will always support India not China
In the event of any Indo-Chinese war in future, Bangladesh will always remain by the side of India, says Ghulam Muhammad Quader, Bangladesh Opposition leader in Parliament and Chairman of Bangladesh Jatiya (Nationalist) Party.
In an exclusive interview to Kishor Sarkar of the Hindusthan Samachar in Dhaka, Ghulam Muhammad Quader, who is also the former Commerce minister of Bangladesh said though his country enjoyed huge commercial ties with China, "but India is our soul mate and we shall always support India in the event of any war with China."
Referring to the recent border tension between India and China at Galwan Valley in Eastern Ladakh and expressing concern at the ongoing developments, the Bangladeshi leader said his country however, did not believe in any feud on the International border and hoped that all border tension between India and China would soon be resolved peacefully, while once again reiterating that in case of any war, Bangladesh would always be by the side of her immediate neighbour.
He said Bangladesh was very much indebted to India because of its unequivocal support to the freedom struggle in 1971 not only by sending troops but also by providing all logistic support to Bangladesh freedom fighters, besides sheltering about ten million Bangladeshi refugees in the country and garnering support for the country in all international fora, Quader said, adding, "How could we forget such contribution of the government of India?"
"The way India extended its support to our Country at the time of our need, we are also committed to remain by the side of the Indian government as always," the Bangladeshi Opposition leader said and stated that (Bangladeshi) Prime minister Sheikh Hasina Wazed also believed the same.
Replying to queries from HS about the role of China during the Bangladesh Independence movement / war,the Jatiya Party Chief said contrary to the role of India, the then Chinese government had supplied huge cache of arms and ammunition to the Pakistani army which were used to kill millions of Bangladeshi freedom fighters. "They supported Pakistan that killed our own people," he said and regretted that they(China) did not even recognise Bangladesh government before the murder of Father of the Nation Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. "We cannot forget that," he said. On whether Bangladesh would also ask China to apologise like the way they demanded unconditional apology from the government of Pakistan, the former Bangladeshi minister said not only the people of Bangladesh, a number of intellectuals in Pakistan also made similar demand.
"But as China was not directly involved in the horrible ethnic cleansing by the Pakistani Army during 1971,we cannot ask for their apology for that. But at least they could admit that supporting Pakistan at that time was a great mistake and could regret for those horrible mistakes," he opined.
On how do the people of Bangladesh see the Chinese support and huge investment for development of the country, Quader said the present support extended by China for the development of infrastructure (in Bangladesh) and for other purposes must be seen from the pure business point of view. "They are not doing any extra favour to us.They have been funding several projects here because they found Bangladesh as a good and attractive investment destination and we are also making full use of that. If any other country also comes forward for such developmental programmes, we would also welcome them," he said.
On how he looks at the present Indo-Bangla relations, the Bangladesh opposition leader described it as a 'historic relation'. Since Bangladesh at one time was part of India and because of several similarities between the people of both the countries in terms of socio-cultural relations, language and even in food habits, people of both the countries were very close for long.
Such close relations could not be built with China,he said and added that relations with India had remained very close since the time of his elder brother and former President of Bangladesh Hosain Mohammad Ershad. Though a section of people wanted to spread an anti India feeling for some time and tried to spread canards about religious oppression, had also realised their mistakes by now, Quader said.
On the increasing number of killing on Indo-Bangla borders, Quader said with sincere efforts by both the governments such unfortunate incidents had now drastically come down. He said in case the Jatiya Party returned to power once again, they would certainly resume joint patrolling on the borders by both Border Security Force(BSF) and the Border Guard of Bangladesh (BGB) to stop smuggling and other illegal activities. "We shall also impose Dusk to Dawn prohibitory orders on the borders and in case any smuggler or any any other person was killed by the force during that period no government would take any responsibility for such killing. Moreover, we shall impose high taxes on illegal imports from India to prevent smuggling," he said.
About the huge trade deficit between India and Bangladesh, former Commerce minister Quader said since Bangladesh imported all essential commodities and major food items like rice, paddy, pulses, onions, ginger, pepper, cardamom and cloves from India, while importing mainly electronic gadgets and toys from China, it would be unfair to compare the trade deficit between the two countries. "But if we start exporting raw animal skins to both India and China this trade imbalance would certainly come down to a great extent," Quader said and emphasised that the present good and cordial relations between India and Bangladesh should be developed further and we should also make greater efforts to increase the volume of trade and not the volume of alleged anti-India rhetoric in the country.
Dhaka August 10 2020