Is Bangladesh an Indian colony? These days, this question reverberates everywhere; among Bangladeshis at home and abroad. A foreign envoy, upon arrival, presents his credential to the host head of the state and conducts bilateral affairs with the host foreign minister and the ministry of foreign affairs. This is the standard protocol, as per the Geneva Convention on diplomatic conduct. Albeit, a foreign envoy can meet anybody else within the country, depending on the necessity to do so. This too is part of standard diplomatic customs. Of late, Indian foreign office officials and its High Commissioners in Dhaka have been meeting frequently with Bangladesh’s ruling party Secretary-General, chief of the police, and many others they ought not to meet. Obaidul Qader controls ruling party politics as the party’s Secretary-General while the IGP controls law and order. The sudden, dreadful slide in the country’s law and order situation, including wanton indulgence by ruling party ruffians and the police in committing atrocious crimes, seems correlated with this foreign nexus aimed at destabilizing the nation. This may sound like a conspiracy theory, but it’s not. India had tried in preceding months to destabilize the Bangladesh armed forces by sowing seeds of discord with the concocted allegation in the popular media of factionalism and power politics within the Bangladesh military to ‘upstage the government.’Having failed to materialize that scheme, political and social destabilizations have been chosen as ‘preferred strategy’ to create a situation that would rationalize a military intervention. This physical intervention and the occupation of Bangladesh is considered a priority-based necessity for India to ensure an uninterrupted line of communications to the landlocked North East India (NEI); at a time when another Indian war with China looks inevitable, and, Nepal had distinctly aligned with China. As Bangladesh remains predisposed to maintaining equidistance and preserving a balanced relationship with both the regional protagonists, China, and India, this foreign policy stance of Dhaka bodes unwell with Delhi. The foreign policy being an extension of the collective domestic desires of an independent nation, the Obaidul Qader, and the likes must be barred from meeting the Indian envoys due to their prescribed assignments not encompassing maintenance of foreign relations. Bangladesh’s foreign and defense ministers, as well as the country’s supreme commander, the president, maybe more watchful and focused on their basic responsibilities in this regard, pursuant to the nation’s constitutional dictates. As well, Bangladesh not being an Indian colony, the Indian envoys in Dhaka, as well as visiting dignitaries, must learn to exercise discretion on matters that are sensitive to — and may be construed as interventional — the national security and the sovereignty of Bangladesh.

Dr Shahid Islam is a Bangladeshi author, columnist, poet, novelist, editor and analyst.
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