20 January, 2021

A Ballot-Paper War

Despite Khaleda's rhetoric, the 'anti-India wave' might peter out

A Ballot-Paper War
When reports surfaced that PM Sheikh Hasina, en route to Brussels, might drop by in New Delhi on May 14 for a brief meeting with her Indian counterpart, it caught no one by surprise. The urgency and desperation that prompted Hasina to seek an appointment with Vajpayee was perhaps linked to the fear of an Indian reprisal attack that still haunts Bangladesh three weeks after the worst border clashes to date between the two countries. These fears were compounded by an unusual Indian troop build-up along the border. Such was the nervousness in the establishment that a Bangladeshi official confessed to Outlook last week: "I've a feeling they'll not stop until they kill 16 of our bdr men."

The meeting between the two PMs is now unlikely to happen because, as foreign minister Abdus Samad Azad said, a "mutually convenient" time could not be agreed upon. But fears of an Indian reprisal subsided following the Indian offer of talks—conveyed to Dhaka on April 30—for resolving the outstanding border disputes. Indian high commissioner Mani Lal Tripathi met Azad on May 1, even though it...


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