Bangladesh expresses deep concern over ban on onion exports by India

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Bangladesh has shared its "deep concern" with India at the sudden ban on onion exports saying it undermines the discussions that took place in October last year and January this year, reports UNB.

The latest "abrupt announcement" of the Indian government "undermines" the discussions that took place in 2019 and 2020 between the two friendly countries on the matter and the understanding shared, said an official at the foreign affairs ministry as written to Indian High Commission in Dhaka.

Bangladesh referred to a commerce secretary-level meeting between the two countries held on 15-16 January, 2020 and VVIP-level visit to India in October last year when the Bangladesh side requested regarding the matter.

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"I wish you had informed us before suddenly putting a halt in export of onions. I had to tell my cook I have no other option but to have my food without onions. I would request India to please inform us beforehand while taking such an action. After all, we're neighbours," prime minister Sheikh Hasina said in Hindi in a programme in India in October last year (according to Indian media).


The Indian High Commission has been requested to convey Bangladesh's message to the authorities concerned in India and take necessary measures to resume export of onions to Bangladesh taking into consideration the excellent ties of friendship and understanding enjoyed by the two countries, the official said.

The foreign affairs ministry mentioned that the sudden announcement of amendments in India's export policy of onion directly impacts the supply of essential food items in Bangladesh.

Earlier on Tuesday, state minister for foreign affairs M Shahriar Alam said Bangladesh requested the Indian government to withdraw the ban imposed on onion export as soon as possible, keeping the import flow of onion from India uninterrupted.

Bangladesh expects a positive outcome in this regard soon.

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He said Bangladesh raised the issue with the external affairs ministry, India through Bangladesh High Commission in New Delhi immediately after noticing the ban.

Shahriar said there is an unwritten understanding that India will inform Bangladesh beforehand while taking any decision on such a ban.


He referred to prime minister Sheikh Hasina's remarks she made during her Delhi visit in October 2019 on the same issue when India imposed a ban on onion export.

Meanwhile, the government has decided to import onions from multiple sources to ensure enough supply of the key cooking ingredient in the local markets.

In line with the decision, the government has already taken steps to import onions from Turkey and Egypt, according to the foreign affairs ministry.

The consignment of the onions is expected to reach Chittagong port early next month.

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