Bangladesh, India home ministers stop short of joint statement

Published : 09 Aug 2019, 18:16

Sahos Desk

Bangladesh and India failed to issue a joint statement at the conclusion of the seventh home minister level meeting in New Delhi on Wednesday, as their disagreement over the ‘infiltration’ issue remained unresolved.

It was not clear whether the home ministers of the two countries discussed the issue of NRC (National Register of Citizens) in Assam, India. Bangladesh home minister Asaduzzaman Khan did not meet the journalists after the meeting.

Asaduzzaman Khan and his Indian counterpart Amit Shah held a one-hour meeting at the Indian home ministry’s North Block on Wednesday evening. This was the first meeting between the two ministers.

After the one-on-one meeting, secretaries of concerned departments joined the home ministers. This meeting was held for around 45 minutes. Disagreement emerged in the third phase during the meeting of the delegations.

Diplomatic sources said the matter of ‘infiltration’ was not included in the draft joint statement, but India put pressure to include it.

Refusing the allegation of ‘infiltration’ by Bangladeshis into India, the Bangladesh delegation said the two countries have been working jointly to manage the borders to curb all illegal activities. The two countries had also expressed satisfaction at every high level meeting. In this context, it would be meaningless to include the ‘infiltration’ issue separately. This contention led the two countries to issue separate statements.

Bangladesh issued its statement around 11:30pm on Wednesday but did not mention the matter of ‘infiltration’ in the northeastern states of India. The Indian statement given to PTI (Press Trust of India) mentioned the matter of ‘infiltration’ in its northeastern states and placed emphasis on its resolution. The local media in India published the statement, but the Indian government’s Press Information Bureau (PIB) withheld it presumably because of an objection issued by Bangladesh.

PIB, however, eventually published the statement at 9:40am on Thursday.

Indian home ministry sources said Amit Shah is very serious about ‘infiltration’ and NRC. India is likely to raise the issue formally during the impending visit of Bangladesh prime minister Sheikh Hasina to India in October.

Source: Prothom Alo

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