BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia has called Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s state visit to India a failure, claiming that the premier returned home with empty hands.
Speaking at a press conference at her Gulshan office on Wednesday afternoon, the BNP chief said: “The people of the country know that Hasina went to India only to give, without getting anything in return. They believe that this trip was a complete failure.”
Among a number of reasons, the BNP leader said Hasina’s inability to broach discussions on Rampal coal-based power plant and sign the Teesta deal was a crucial factor weighing against the success of the trip.
Criticising the bilateral MoU on defence cooperation, under which India will lend Bangladesh $500 million to buy military equipment, Khaleda said the deals were signed despite strong protest from the civil society as well as the people of the country.
“Our military forces use arms imported from China; we already have a defence cooperation deal with China. India itself imports arms, whereas China exports arms. Then why are we buying arms from India?” She asked.
She expressed concern that such an agreement which was signed by going against public opinion might be harmful for the country in the future.
She said the Awami League government did not represent the people because they did not come to power in a democratic way.
“That is why this undemocratic government could not protect the country's dignity and national interests in any of the deals with India.”
The only reason the current government has survived so far is because of India's support, the BNP chief said.
Khaleda further said the prime minister herself admitted that the aim of her state visit to India was to strengthen friendship between the two countries, not to get anything for the country.
“Now it is up to the people to judge this gaseous friendship,” she said.
The BNP chief said if BNP came to power in the next election, it would review all the deals and MoUs signed with India and other countries which are not in Bangladesh's favour.