India’s seven-phase election to elect the 17th Lok Sabha, the lower house of the Indian Parliament, started on April 11
The existing relationship between Dhaka and New Delhi is not going to be affected by the outcome of the ongoing national elections in India, top serving and former diplomats have told Dhaka Tribune.
Since the present Bangladesh government has experience of dealing with both Congress Party and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) governments, it will find it quite “easy” to maintain the strong relationship with the neighbouring country, they said.
Everything is expected to continue as usual, regardless of which party comes to power, they added, expressing hope for a stable government in Delhi for the sake of smooth engagement between the two countries.
India’s seven-phase election to elect the 17th Lok Sabha, the lower house of the Indian Parliament, started on April 11. On that day, millions of voters voted to elect 91 members of the Lok Sabha in 20 states and union territories. In the next phase on April 18, voters will exercise their right to franchise in 12 states and one union territory.
“We deal with the government of the day. It is the Indians’ business to choose their government. It will hardly make any impact on our relationship with India,” a top diplomat at the Foreign Ministry told this correspondent.
“The relationship between the two countries has come a long way and I think that nothing is going to reverse the course,” he said.
“We have dealt with a Congress government earlier, and we have before and still are dealing with a BJP government. As far as both the governments are concerned, we are doing fine,” added the top diplomat.
“I don’t think a single project or area of cooperation will be affected by the outcome of the ongoing polls,” he further said.
Echoing his colleague, a senior diplomat with thorough knowledge of Bangladesh-India affairs said: “The result will not matter to us. Our cooperation in every sector, such as energy, trade and commerce, water resources, border management, people to people contact and culture, is highly likely to continue.”
In response to a question, he said: “We are aware that the majority of the people in our country do not have a favourable view of the BJP, as they are considered to promote Hindu extremism and cause problems for minorities, particularly Muslims.
“This is not something we can help with. It is a matter for the Indian electorates to choose their government,” he added.
When asked if the relationship between the neighbours would be affected by the outcome of the elections, Tariq Karim, who was high commissioner to India from August 2009 to October 2014, said it should not.
“Look, the elections are going to be close and there is a possibility of a hung parliament. If that happens, we might face some problems because the government will have to pay more attention to internal affairs, rather than to foreign issues,” he said.
“I don’t think there will be any mention-worthy change in the relationship, regardless of who forms the government after declaration of the results on May 23,” said Ambassador Humayun Kabir, former foreign secretary and deputy high commissioner in Kolkata from 1999 to 2001.
“Things, however, might be different if, and only if, there is a change of government in Bangladesh,” he added.