24 July, 2021

'India Thinks It Is A First Division Player, It Won't Waste Time On Us'

FAROOQ Sobhan, foreign secretary of Bangladesh, is the quintessential diplomat. As Bangladesh's high commissioner in New Delhi (1992-95), he was popular on the diplomatic and social circuits. A day after the Bangladesh elections, he spoke to Sunil Na

'India Thinks It Is A First Division Player, It Won't Waste Time On Us'

What should be done to improve bilateral ties which are almost suspended at the moment?

You have a new government in New Delhi and we'll have one in Bangladesh very soon. The first step obviously would be to try and have a meeting. There should be an exchange of visits—at the level of the foreign ministers or at least the foreign secretaries. We should take up all unresolved problems on a priority basis and, simultaneously, look at ways to expand economic ties.

Which issues demand immediate attention?

The two foreign secretaries, Salman Haider and myself, have had several meetings in the past year. After last year's SAARC summit when Haider came here, there was an understanding that we'll move quickly to a permanent sharing agreement on the Ganges waters. We were unable to move beyond that stage because both countries were looking at elections down the road. First and foremost, from our point of view, would be the water sharing. We are also keen to see reduction in tariffs that prevent more Bangladeshi goods...

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