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Dhaka Tribune

MJ Akbar to Bangladesh: Do not lose friends to placate your foes

  • ‘Bangladesh is not helpless’
  • Launds PM Hasina for her role in establishing democracy
Update : 17 Dec 2023, 03:09 PM

Former Indian state minister for Foreign Affairs MJ Akbar has said that Bangladesh should take its “own side” while dealing with the interests of other countries, but urged not to lose friends while dealing with the foes.

“You should take your own side. Bangladesh should take the side of Bangladesh,” he said, while replying to a question on India, China rivalry and which side Bangladesh should take, after delivering a speech at a seminar at the Foreign Service Academy. 

Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen was also present at the seminar titled "Bangladesh’s Achievements in 52 Years and Its Place in the Region and Beyond in the Coming Decades”.

Akbar lauded the leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina for her role in establishing democracy, inclusive nationalism, gender emancipation and poverty alleviation, and said superpowers do not want nationalists in power as nationalists can never be a puppet. “They want puppets who can serve their interest while pretending to serve Bangladesh.”

“She is a unifier. She did not divide,” Akbar said. “Superpowers who want to divide the polity of Bangladesh...they never support nationalists.”

“You have to deal with all kinds of neighbours. But you have to keep in mind that do not lose your friends in the efforts to placate your enemies or foes,” he told the foreign ministry officials who attended the seminar.

“Bangladesh is no longer a fearful country. It is not right to think that Bangladesh will be afraid if you show fear,” he said while replying to a question on superpowers' threat to impose sanctions if the elections are not held free and fair.

He appreciated Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s leadership and said she is the leader of Bangladesh’s second Liberation War from dictatorship.
“She needs to be respected for the brave role he played against the post-75 dictatorship. And I think this should be celebrated.”

When asked how India sees the challenges that Bangladesh is currently facing, Akbar said: “Bangladesh can deal with its own challenges well”.

He said Bangabandhu has changed the course of the history of the region by liberating Bangladesh in 1971.

“Today Bangladesh has become a nation of opportunities under the leadership of his daughter Sheikh Hasina. Bangladesh is not helpless.”


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