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FM: Bangladesh tied to India by blood, to China by economy

  • Published at 03:44 pm August 8th, 2020
Foreign minister Meherpur
Foreign minister and his wife placing a wreath at Mujibnagar Mukhtijuddha Memorial Complex on Saturday, August 8, 2020Dhaka Tribune

Both India and China are Bangladesh's big trading partners

Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen on Saturday said Bangladesh shares blood ties with India and economic ties with China, but they should not be compared as Bangladesh emphasizes on developing through cooperation and collaboration.

"Bangladesh's relations with India is rock-solid and historic while Bangladesh has economic ties with China. We must not compare," he said emphasizing on joint efforts.

Dr Momen made the remarks after visiting Mujibnagar Muktijoddha Memorial Complex where he paid tributes placing wreaths.

The foreign minister's wife Selina Momen, among others, was present.

Regarding the India-China conflict, the foreign minister said it has nothing to do with Bangladesh and will not affect its relation with the two countries.

Bangladesh is focusing on its own development, said Dr Momen, adding both India and China are Bangladesh's big trading partners and Bangladesh wants more trade benefits from India.

About celebrating Bangladesh's 50 years of independence and India's role in achieving that independence, he said: "Our victory means India's victory. Our development means India's development." 

Describing Dhaka-Delhi relations as very strong, he also said  that nothing can create problems in the growing relations.

“Recently, China has given permission to bring almost 8,000 products without taxes, which is a big achievement for us,” he said, adding that this will not affect the country's relation with India.

Unresolved Issues

The foreign minister said Bangladesh and India resolved major bilateral issues, achieved progress on water sharing issues and other pending issues will also be resolved.

"There are some issues. We will resolve those. Keep faith in us," he said.

Asked about trials of the coronavirus vaccine in Bangladesh, the foreign minister said many countries like India and Pakistan went for collaboration.

"We didn't go for collaboration yet. It's regrettable. We should also go for collaboration," Dr Momen said.

He said a Chinese company is developing a collaboration with the icddr,b which is an institution of 28 countries.

"We have nothing to do with it. Some are trying to make it a political issue. This is purely research," Dr Momen said the government will think of it.

The foreign minister suggested talking to the Health Ministry for details.

He said the government has contributed to the European Union so that Bangladesh gets the vaccine smoothly.

Dr Momen said the vaccine should be distributed in an indiscriminate way and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said it must be made  sure that no one is left behind.

Bangabandhu's Killers

The foreign minister reiterated that the government is working to bring back the convicted killers of Bangabandhu, to execute them to implement the court verdict.

"It's our hope," he said adding that one of the killers was executed recently.

The fugitives are - col (dismissed) Khandaker Abdur Rashid, lt col (relieved) Shariful Haque Dalim, maj (retd) Noor Chowdhury, maj (retd) Rashed Chowdhury and Risaldar Moslehuddin Khan. Capt Abdul Majed was hanged recently.

The foreign minister also sought support from Bangladeshi expatriates living in different countries alongside the government’s initiative to bring back the remaining five fugitive convicted killers of the Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and execute the verdict.

One of them is in the United States while another one in Canada, he said.

On November 19, 2009, the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court upheld the death penalty of 12 convicted former army officials for the assassination of Bangabandhu and his family members.

Of the fugitives, the government knew the whereabouts of Noor Chowdhury, Rashed Chowdhury and Moslehuddin while it was not sure about the other two fugitives -- Rashid and Dalim.