Bangladesh is India’s closest neighbour. This closeness has been prevailing for 15 years. Mutual dependence has increased. Neither country will want this friendship to be harmed or the continuity of these relations to be impaired. Naturally India doesn’t want that. India wants democracy to continue in Bangladesh, for the country grows more prosperous, that it remains non-communal, that regional stability prevails.
India has always supported democracy. It has always wanted free and fair elections in a democratic country. India wants the election in Bangladesh also to be free, fair and peaceful. Bangladesh has precedence of such elections. So it is meaningless to have any misgivings in this regard.
Just as India will not tolerate any intervention in its own country, it is impossible for it to approve of pressure on any third country. India has repeatedly tried to explain this to the US
India will never support or approve of any other country placing pressure on Bangladesh due to such misgivings. India informed the US of this earlier too. External affairs secretary Vinay Kwatra’s statement makes it quite clear that this was stated unhesitatingly at the Friday meeting too.
It is extremely important for India that South Asia remain politically stable. It is important for Bangladesh too. Bangladesh has seen development in almost all areas under the leadership of Sheikh Hasina. It has set an example in overall development, alongside economic growth. This has been possible due to the continuity of democratic practice.
There is precedence of free, fair and peaceful elections in the county. It is not only baseless to think that the next election will not be as spontaneous as that, but it is disrespectful towards a democratic country. Also, India never would want any other country to needlessly put pressure on anyone.
Just as India will not tolerate any intervention in its own country, it is impossible for it to approve of pressure on any third country. India has repeatedly tried to explain this to the US. It has been explained to them this time too. Whether the US understands or not, it is up to them.
* Sreeradha Datta is a professor at the OP Jindal Global University