Bangladesh foreign policy not to constantly favour one country: Analyst

Prothom Alo English Desk | Update:

Shahab Enam KhanNew Delhi has no reason to be concerned about Dhaka’s closer economic ties with Beijing, a Bangladeshi analyst told The Times of India.

Shahab Enam Khan further insisted that Chinese $24 billion development loans to Bangladesh would rather be beneficial to India for its spillover effects.

“Bangladesh’s foreign policy choice, regardless of the regime of the day, will be invariably constrained by multiple concerns emerging from domestic, regional and international politics, as well as the global economy,” he said in an interview with the Indian newspaper.

The analyst mentioned that Bangladesh seeks to manage cordial relations with multiple stakeholders.

“The evolving regional and global equations too compel Bangladesh’s foreign policy not to remain constant in favour of any particular country,” Shahab, research director at the Bangladesh Enterprise Institute, was quoted to have said.

“The sooner we understand this, the better it would be to manage this bilateral relationship.”

Mentioning that Bangladesh has guaranteed India’s security in its north-eastern states, he apparently regretted that India remained somewhat tilted in favour of Myanmar when Bangladesh started giving humanitarian shelter to almost a million Rohingya refugees.

Asked about memorandums of understanding on defence cooperation, Shahab said. “Bangladesh and India have to manoeuvre through the changing geopolitical equations in the region. In fact, well-coordinated defence MoUs with the Asean countries, China and India may act as balancing instruments against regional insecurities.”

Asked how a Teesta water-sharing deal is for Bangladesh, the researcher explained that an impasse on water-sharing deal “continues to make the Bangladeshi population and their livelihoods suffer.”

“Therefore, Teesta will remain an important factor among the Bangladeshi electorate."

When ToI asked him about debate on illegal migration from Bangladesh in Indian states like Assam, Shahab Khan dismissed such allegations, saying that Bangladesh’s economic development does not hold much rationale for illegal migration to Assam and that the increasing number of Indians working in Bangladesh is a testimony of remittance inflow to India from Bangladesh.

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