16 January, 2021

Birds On Wires

Despite India's hard talk, the illegal immigrants issue has both sides vexed, with few solutions

Tribhuvan Tiwari
Birds On Wires
At noon last Wednesday, Bangladesh high commissioner to India Tufail K. Haider called up the office of foreign minister Yashwant Sinha and requested a meeting saying that he had an urgent message to convey. Sinha met Haider at 6.30 pm at his South Block office. Haider quickly came to the point: he wanted the standoff over stranded snake-charmers in no-man's-land de-escalated. Sinha agreed. Haider then reminded Sinha that he had previously expressed a wish for the Bangladeshi foreign minister to visit New Delhi. Wasn't the moment propitious for such a visit, Haider asked.

Sinha immediately asked an official present in the room to call up the Bangladeshi foreign minister and formally extend an invitation. This was done later in the night. Those aware of the meeting knew the crisis on the border was bound to dissipate now.

And that's what happened. Hours later, the snake-charmers at the zero line—all 213 of them—quietly disappeared. It was almost as if the entire episode had not happened. Later, New Delhi put out the spin that Bangladesh had taken them back. In...


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