Vol. 5 Num 483 Tue. October 04, 2005  

Foreign Ministry clears the air
BDR chief had better refrained
At last there is an attempt to clear the air of misunderstanding created by what was an unnecessary remark by the BDR chief. We hope that the foreign ministry's statement will help dispel misgivings in the minds of our neighbour.

However, there are two points that we would like to make in this matter, both about the content of the statement and on the manner of communicating the position. First, on the context of the statement, the transborder criminal links to the August 17 bombings have been pegged on the arrest of only one Indian national who, reportedly, have been living in Bangladesh for more than a decade. The Indian police have arrested his brother, and this is what should be emphasised to our mutual advantage in netting the criminals and tackling trans-border crimes rather than making it a matter of contention between the two countries

Second, insofar as the manner of conveying our position is concerned, it is clear from the foreign ministry's statement that what the DG BDR said at the press conference is very much the government position on the issue. That being so, was the DG BDR the appropriate one to convey our official position on such an issue? We feel that such matters should have been better left to those at the appropriate level, delivered only through diplomatic channel, after due deliberations. Even if the issue was discussed between the chiefs of the two border forces, a sensitive matter such as this should have not been articulated in a manner where there is always a possibility of various inferences being drawn from one's remarks. Thus we are constrained to say that DG BDR went much beyond his brief of the border conference and it complicated the matter.

Essentially, it needs to be said that both sides have taken steps recently to reverse the state of their relationship, which even the most inveterate optimist would have to admit was at a low ebb. The positive move was demonstrated recently in two very high level ministerial visits, the latest of which was that of India's Water Resource Minister, Mr. Priyoranjan Das Munshi, which witnessed very positive developments on water issues between the two neighbours.

We would like to see our relationship moving positively forward rather than getting bogged down in remarks made off the cuff. We must do everything to dispel any misgivings in the minds of the Indian leadership and reinforce the positive trends in Bangladesh-India relations that we witnessed recently.