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Dhaka Tribune

Indian foreign secretary due today

Update : 03 Dec 2013, 08:36 PM

Indian Foreign Secretary Sujatha Singh arrives in Dhaka on a 24-hour trip today – a visit seen by many as very “significant.”

This is her first visit in secretary capacity at the invitation of Foreign Secretary Md Shahidul Haque at a time when the country is plunged into chaos with series of blockades and agitation over the arrangement of election.

“The timing is very critical as she could come earlier or later. It shows the urgency of New Delhi to send message to all major political stakeholders in the country,” said a senior diplomat who is in service and preferred not be named.

“[Ahead of polls] it is not the right time to send an Indian political person [to Dhaka] and probably that prompts New Delhi to send its top diplomat to give message [of the Indian government] in person,” said another diplomat, seeking anonymity as he is not authorised to speak to media.

In a statement yesterday, the Indian High Commission in Dhaka informed media about Sujatha’s visit. High Commissioner Pankaj Saran was active in engaging with all political parties, the statement said.

Sujatha is scheduled to meet Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, opposition chief Khaleda Zia and Jatiya Party Chairman HM Ershad during her visit.

She will also join a secretary-level bilateral meeting.

“Violence in Bangladesh is not good for India and she might persuade all parties to reach a solution,” a diplomat said. At this stage, it might not be a threat to India but if it continues, “there is a possibility of spill over of violence to bordering states of India,” he said.

“When former Indian secretary Ranjan Mathai came to Dhaka early this year, there was an approach to meet Khaleda Zia, but that meeting never took place,” the diplomat said. 

Khaleda also did not meet Indian President Pranab Mukherjee when he had arrived in Dhaka in March.

Despite this, the Indian top diplomat would meet Khaleda as India seemed to have good relations with the BNP, said the diplomat.

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